A few things are on my mind currently. One is the concept of love. Of course, it is the topic most written about in any language.It seems human beings have not much else to say.
“Every man is afraid of something. That’s how you know he’s in love with you; when he is afraid of losing you.”
I guess I’m not only speaking in the individual sense- intimate love, but the more univeral meaning of it. Love as an element, a commodity, a resource. The feeling I have when I think of New Orleans is what most would call love, but that word is so overused and undermeant. I feel kindred with it. I feel invested in it. Call it what you will.
The second thing on my mind being change. No, not the silver and copper in your ashtray, but the kind of change that comes with experience, the kind that defines you.
“Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.”
James A. Baldwin
I recently returned from my second trip to Post Katrina New Orleans in a small county called St Bernard Parish. The people of St Bernard are more like the people that I grew up with than I can explain. They are small town, suburban, middle to lower class people. Their houses are one bedroom, thier lawns are scattered with toys or car parts, their schools small and under-funded.
My first trip was a mind-boggling, explosive kind of change. I came back both humbled and angry. I wanted to do huge things and live a simple life all at the same time. I still want that and I stuggle with those ideas every day, but the point is, I came home a different person.
This time…it changed me alright, but the change is a slower one. I’ve been home over a week and it’s still sinking in. I kept a journal while I was down there and I will be adding those here for you to read if you are interested, but I think I’d also like to add some photo highlights, some quotes, some fragmented ideas and some scattered insight. I am stalling here…trying to find some words for the kind of change that came this time. It seems more like a heightened spirituality versus the adolescent, strained optimism of the last trip. I hope as you read the journal entries this will make more sense.
Anyhow, as always New Orleans draws me in like a flirtatious lover. I dream of her. I long for her. This time I don’t think I want to prolong the torture. I met an amazing professor down there from Tulane. He talked to us about sustainable urban agriculture and appropriation of urban space and resources. I loved what he was doing, I loved his enthusiasm and I loved his investment and pride in his city. I will be looking further into the program, perhaps applying soon.
One last quote to leave you:
“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” ~Mark Twain (1884)