One winter I slept in a tent next to the barn in this photo on the right hand side. It was so bitter cold. I slept at night on the land on this farm up until December 2006 after which I came to New Orleans as a volunteer. This past week I returned to MA for a long overdue spiritual retreat. Whilst in Massachusetts, I made the decision with the love and support of my spiritual teacher and community, to stay in New Orleans and make it my home. New Orleans had begun calling my heart sometime ago. Last Monday when I got off the plane in New Orleans I kept repeating to my friend Victorine, "I am home, I am home." And I knew I meant it.
With my decision to move to New Orleans come the decison to move to a new neighborhood. I am hoping that I can find "my neighborhood" in this New Orleans post-Katrina rental market. It may not happen with this new apartment as I am dependent upon timing and this rental market is horrendous. Check out this link for one bedroom apartments in NOLA: http://neworleans.craigslist.org/apa/
What a joke. It seems like the rental market in NOLA is designed for wealthier Tulane and Loyola students & the Doctors and Nurses needed to run the soon to be booming medical industry and I sometimes feel as if some of the new apartment complexes are being built to lure in retirees to fill the hospital beds. Donald Trump has a sign up that he will be building in the CBD and the CBD is being marketed as the up and coming "luxury" area. Most of the houses/apartments up around where I live at this posting seem to be becoming student housing. I assume the mathematics may be more bodies per household = higher rents. My neighborhood which used to be 60% Black New Orleanians to about 40% Caucasian/mixed race, has to my eye, changed to @65% Caucasian/few Asians to about 30% Black New Orleanians and these demographics are changing fast. I have been feeling for some months as if I am beginning to live in a white collegiate bastion of privilege and it is depleting to my spirit.
With these new changes will come changes to the blog. I had hoped to have posted slide shows of some of the thousands of photo's I have taken over the year of post-Katrina New Orleans - my brand spanking new 500 gb external hard drive had other ideas - such as its driver not recognizing my computer. I working on having the photo data salvaged as I would like to donate these photos to the The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and the New Orleans African American Museum. Unfortunately, they will not be available for any anniversary memorials this year.
I had hoped to go to the Layfette Reggae festival with some friends, we are all waiting to see what happens with the storm Gustav. I have a storm buddy - we will both be looking out for each other first. Once we meet up, we can help friends from there. My car has a full tank of gas and I have water for 3 days. I just need to get some dried fruits, nuts, protein bars so that I have some provisions in case of emergency. I have a tent and plenty of experience 'roughing it'.
So that's the news for now. When I get fresh photo's I'll post them. I hope to continue to share stories on my expereinces of New Orleans - I just don't know if I can continue to document and share stories related to Katrina and the levy related flooding. I am burnt out. I am saturated emotionally and tired. As a friend of mine who went through Katrina/flooding shared with me "everybody has a Katrina story and none of them is good. You gotta take care of yourself now."
I am going to take some time off to find my New Orleanian neighborhood. After I move, I will see what direction I feel my heart calling me. My hearts call will feed the passion that will inform my work.
Until then --
may you experience Divine guidance, blessings and love.
your planetary sister in New Orleans.
Thank you for your readership over this last year.