marathoner452: (Default)
Emergency Communities will be closing at the end of November, and effective immediately they will be closing at 6 on weekdays and will be closed on weekends.  This is not because the community has rebounded to the point where they no longer need a community center and three hot meals a day.  There is still very little open that I can see, with the exception of a gas station, a church or two, and the school/library.  No, EC is closing because they're running out of money, and I wish I had about $5,000 to give away to keep them open through Christmas. 

Maybe some of the Garden District people I saw riding around in their luxury SUVs when I was up there running on Saturday can help them out.

In any case, just so those of you outside the city know, good things ARE happening here all over the city.

Another example is Reap the Harvest Full Gospel Baptist Church not far from the Mississippi levee down in the Lower 9, where I went yesterday morning at the invite of a gentleman I talked with at EC.  I was the only white person there but I was welcomed wholeheartedly with plenty of hugs and handshakes and smiles.
marathoner452: (yes that's the water line)

That's what one of the residents said to me this evening after I found him some of our "Yankee" red beans and some biscuits and greens.  Apparently "Yankee" beans have too many veggies.  (As a general rule, the people who live here like their meat and you know someone's a volunteer if they ask for the veggie version.)  This is the same resident who jumped on the serving line to help me out with the barbeque last Sunday when most everyone else ran off to the Bacchus parade and 150 residents showed up for burgers and hot dogs.  Not that I can blame them for leaving; I wanted to go to the parade too.

The hardest part about being down here will be leaving Sunday.  I would love nothing better than to stay here for another couple of months, but I gotta get back home, I mean, to Maryland, so I can keep working so I can move down here for good in August.  In the middle of hurricane season no less.  I'm the crazy one who wants to move down here and teach and falls more in love with this city every day she's here.  It's delayed gratification.  I just have to wait longer than I'd like to and I'll just keep telling myself that until I believe that's a good enough reason to leave.  Call me at the airport 10 am New Orleans time on Sunday to make sure I'm getting on the plane or I'm liable to stay put right where I belong.

Sugar Park on Saturday night as a going-away present?  :-)

marathoner452: (katrina relief)
When I got the last seat on the plane in Chicago, last stop before New Orleans, the woman I had had to climb over turned to me and said, "Where have you been?  We've been waiting for you."  Welcome back to New Orleans, how was your vacation, it's been way too long and we've been waiting for you.

I took a much-needed almost day off yesterday.  I pulled a muscle either having too much fun on Mardi Gras or lifting too many boxes of orange juice and cambros of chicken alfredo.  So instead of chopping squash and strawberries and potatoes and serving all of the above to hundreds of residents and volunteers, I spent most of the day in bed reading Soul Kitchen and most of the night taking a real shower and hanging out at Sugar Park until 1 in the morning.  You need a change in scenery every once in awhile.  It's not going to do anyone any good if I get burned out from hearing so many "I was there when the levees broke and I was in the Superdome for 6 days" stories.  I think the breaking point was the gut I went on a few days ago.  The downstairs of this man's house had already been gutted, but then the roof leaked into the upstairs bedroom where he and his wife went to escape the floodwaters when the levee broke.  Had to be a major trigger for him.  We threw debris, his books and clothes and magazines and carpet, out the window that he climbed out of to be rescued.  He showed us how high the floodwaters were, where neighbors of his lived who didn't make it.  When I needed a break pulling insulation out of the ceiling I just stood by that window and tried to imagine 125 mph winds and 14 feet of water instead of a beautiful sunny day.  Fortunately, here and now the sunny days win most of the time.

I want to hear the stories, need to hear the stories because the residents here need someone to listen and to care and because people back in Maryland need to get as angry about this as I am, as invested in the future of New Orleans.  But sometimes it's too many stories all at once and you need a break.  Now I'm ready to get back in the game.  Perfect timing because tomorrow night's red beans and rice.  Of course it is, it'll be Monday in New Orleans.

So life is for living and right now life is good.  It's not always easy, but I'm where I need to be.

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marathoner452

May 2010

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