Monday, February 8, 2016

Publishing Previously Un-released Notes

I have been publishing my notes which were not previously published, after a long sabbatical and rest.

I hope these notes and the stories and photos found here and at postkatrina 2007 are helpful to students and those who care for the heart of New Orleans and her peoples.

I hope to release more in the future.

your Planetary Sister


Could somebody tell me is it because I am black...?

 Everton Blender

Previously unreleased notes - released 2016

Racisim and the Distribution of Funding - Volunteers and Rebuilding - Reparations of the Heart

 Previously Unpublished Notes: Released 2/2016
 Circa Early 2008

My experiences of watching, what seems to be to me, the uneven distribution of funding post-Katrina New Orleans, via photographing low income neighborhoods that were hit the hardest by the failure of the levies, and of conversations I have had had with local Black New Orleanian's themselves as the struggle to rebuild are deeply saddening.

The ongoing revelations of uneven distribution of helping and funds*,  are so deeply disturbing to me because of the contempt I believe it shows for African Americans in post-Katrina, levy failure flooded, New Orleans.

 * If it were not for the volunteers, who paid their way to volunteer -  gut out, and help rebuild houses, I believe hundreds would have never made it home. When I hear people speak of reparations - I will often speak of the thousands of primarily caucasion volunteers who came to New Orleans and spent their money and time, rebuilding mostly the African American neighborhoods. Without them I wonder how many would have been left bereft of a home and culture. These were reparations of the heart, out of a love for the community and their sufferings. Their deeds and acts of love were a healing balm to the virus of racisim.


Previously unpublished notes: Released 2016

I have seen the most postings of "FOR RENT" signs around the Uptown area near Tulane and Loyola. Broadmoor next (1 or 2 with signs of community growth). Mid-city: 2 apartment for rent signs, 7th Ward: 1, Upper 9th: 1 (maybe?). How much of the availability is affected by the fluctuations of student populations? How about incoming new residents? What is available and where for what income populations? (educationally and socio-economically) What has it been like for returning post-Katrina levy flooded residents to find affordable "before the storm" rentals in their previous communities?


Previously Unreleased Notes: Released 2016

How are the shifting populations of Black New Orleanians due to economic and social injustices, policies and hardships pre & post-Katrina affecting the murder rates of the overall New Orleanian population? 

What percentage of American males of African decent are post-Katrina murder victims? What was the mean age of the American males of African decent - as murder victim for 2004 - 2005 (aftermath) - 2006 -2007 -2008? For perpetrators? 

What is the likelihood that American males of African decent with a felony conviction will be able to find a good paying job which could be the platform for a transformation of the individual and the community?  

How many American males of African decent have been the victims of the collateral damage of not only flawed social policies which express to me a contempt for the local population of American males of African decent as well as an overall contempt of one race and class over another?    

How many American males of African decent living in post-Katrina New Orleans have been the victims of the collateral damage from the glamorization of the "gangsta" image -- with marketing of the sexualization and gaining of 'notoriousness' thru killing and living the life of the gangster?

What is the percentage of the population of American males of African decent living in post-Katrina levy faiilure New Orleans who no longer care, live in depression, addiction, fear, despair, rage and suffer from symptoms related to PTSD related traumas and the levy failures and the flooding of the city of New Orleans?

Did you know that post-Katrina neither the State, nor the FEDS saw it necessary to open the Louisa Tech Trade School or other trade schools?

What percentage of American males of African decent who were trained at these technical schools as electricians, plumbers, builders, contractors, etc. - are now working to rebuild the city of New Orleans - whilst most likely rebuilding their own homes, post-Katrina levy failure flooding in New Orleans?

How could we not as a nation, state, city, and community see the need to have these schools built and ready by 2006 -2007; with local populations of American males of African decent attending these schools for training IN BUILDING SKILLS and on their off time having the opportunity to earn extra monies with the knowledge and skills they have learned at school -- whilst also getting historic and valuable building information by apprenticing on the job THUS CONTINUING THE CULTURAL TRADITIONS IN BUILDING AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE MAINTAINING AND HISTORIC GENERATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS OF NEW ORLEANS. 

How has not having the New Orleans Technical Trade schools up and operating by 2006-2007 to train the local population of males of African decent AFFECTED this population of New Orleanians?

Did you know of the proud heritage of the 7th Ward of coming from generations of builders, craftsmen, bricklayers, tile men, and the like? What percentage of the local population of American males of African decent from the 7th Ward have been sentenced since post-Katrina and what is the murder rate? Speculation: How would this socio-economic post-Katrina picture have looked if the trade schools had been up and running by 2006-2007?

What are the chances for the local population of American males of African decent to participate in the trickle down rebuilding and recovery approach created by the City of brand New Orleans, The State of Louisiana, and the Federal government of the United States? (Remember "We the People"... or as the Compassionate Christians of the Republican party like to remind the rest of the country - "One Nation under God")?

WoW. It really _ _ _ _ _ to be an American male of African decent in post-Katrina levy failure flooded New Orleans 2008.

The RACISM here is so AWFUL.  Graffiti on wall "Get A Job". Statue of Lee in Lee Circle with his back defiantly towards the segregated Afican American neighborhoods. The abundance of civil war military statues. The very small African American history museum in the Treme.

CLASS-ISM plus RACISIM is so BLATANT. "Rosa Parks" street sign uptown on wealthy street which states "Rosa Parks - Do Not Enter"

The VIOLENCE people live under is so UNNERVING.


"When will they ever learn...
long time passing."

-song lyric 1960's folk

General E. Lee statuary - erected on LEE CIRCLE in city of New Orleans - facing North defiantly with Uptown at his back. How ironically symbolic...

Right: Culture of Americans of African decent neighborhood in the Treme by Claiborne.


Previously unreleased notes: Released 2016

Read the original posting here:

 Honouring the works of Mr. Curtis Moore of Pralines and hundreds of 'ordinary' folks who would bring their entire families to feed and help the homeless. When speaking with Mr. Curtis he once told me, 

"We need to find a way to have a feeding schedule for feeding the homeless."

One of the most amazing things I would witness when handing out hot hands and other necessities to the homeless after the levy flooding in New Orleans, was how families would pull up their car, pull out big foil food containers, paper plates, cups, drinks and utensils to feed the poor.  Parents would tell me how important it was for their children to learn how to take care of the poor and those less fortunate then themselves 'with' them. Single people, families, Church groups, and Praline's owner Mr. Curtis Moore would all come and share food from their hearts and souls.

What an honour I was blessed with to witness their acts of generosity and kindness!

City of New Orleans is working hard to criminalize homelessness and expects to pass a new ordinance in April to allow the arrest of homeless people who sleep on the street. New Orleans homeless population has doubled since Katrina. Experts now estimate that 1 in 25 people in New Orleans is homeless, the highest rate in the nation.



Previously Unpublished: Released 2016

Parkway Partners works to improve green space for all New Orleanians as it has for the past 25 years...

Since Katrina's devastation of 75% of the city's tree canopy, we
have launched an urgent reforestation campaign.
ReLeaf New Orleans takes center stage as Parkway Partners seeks to restore a canopy that is the hallmark of beauty and health for the environment and its citizens.

ReLeaf New Orleans Initiative
Parkway Partners is placing great emphasis on the replacement of trees in public
spaces. We are building a coalition with neighborhoods for tree planting and protection.
Gift of ReLeaf Adopt-A-Neutral Ground ProgramVolunteer citizens "adopt" a section of the neutral grounds and maintain it.
Second Saturdays ProgramWe offer high quality plants/trees for sale and an educational workshop about gardening
Community GardensWe help establish and support neighborhood gardens.
Schoolyard GardensWe partner with schools to offer students an interactive educational opportunity.
Save Our TreesWe offer low cost spraying for Buck Moth caterpillars, fertilizing and termite treatment.
2008 Sign-up form
Jackson Square PartnersA project of Parkway Partners in partnership with the City of New Orleans Department of
Parks and Parkways to ensure that Jackson Square will always be a place of beauty.

PARKWAY PARTNERS - 1137 Baronne, St., New Orleans, LA 70113
phone: 504-620-2224 fax: 504-620-2231
email: OR visit the < href=""> Contact Us page

Thank You New Orleans for the Opportunities to Serve

Previously Unreleased: 3/2008


My actions, my deeds, are the sum part of all the people supporting the service work I feel called to do in New Orleans post-Katrina 2008 after the levy failure flooding of the city.

Thank you to everyone who helps me help others that I meet.

Thank you for all the opportunities to serve
and most of all
for letting me get to be the one
who shares the gifts
of your

"watch out brethren and sistren for the false prophets
who mistook God's name to mean Jah's gravy train.
-The Amharic
False Prophet


Previously Un-Published Notes:  Released 2016

Quotes from those I met in the Community - 3/2008

"I've been happy we came back." My husband is a Mardi Gras Indian

"This was our first house."

"We are back (nearby the smell of mold in the sweltering heat and humidity is intense. I ask Christine about it - she says there was some trouble with ownership and titles with the families that is why nothing much has been done - she says it does not bother her. Each house on other side of her has not been gutted yet - 2 years on."

"It''s been a struggle"

"When your determined..."

"They cut the wires out - stole the copper wires. After we just paid to have them put in."

"I am so excited to be home."

"First one back on the block."


"Salvation Army took care of us. Alabama gave us a lot.  Enterprise, Alabama. I love Alabama alot"


"I may not get everything I need - but if I can get my plumbing back in..."

13 MATTRESSES: Illegal Workers and Squating

"I came home to find 13 mattresses in my house."
One common problem in the heavily damaged 7th Ward was the illegal squating, as I am told, of illegal immigrants who came in after the storm and the rescinding by President Bush, of the fair wage act. They would live in houses where the families were away trying to regroup and rebuild.

7th Ward New Orleans - Most Inhabited Post Katrina Neighborhood

"Did you know that the 7th Ward is the most inhabited Post-Katrina ravaged community in New Orleans?"

--A proud 7th ward resident

This is mostly due to the fact that this area of the city is where many of the craftsmen, the plumbers, the electricians, the construction workers, and the builders - reside. The people who live in this community benefited greatly from attending the trade schools which once flourished in this city.


"Lincoln did not feel he freed the slaves -- he felt that they freed themselves."

 The History Channel

The Gentrification of the Black Pearl - Previously unreleased notes

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.

--Desmond Tutu

These are previously unreleased notes: 2/8/16

Well, I have been cleaning up my side of the shotgun after someone broke into it. I found out just this morning from a neighbor that they saw a man leaving, arriving not likely, as they came in through the window with iron bars on it!; this neighbor didn't know what was going on but knew that the person walking from my back door at that time of the morning and going into the alley with no exit, was something their consciousness should make note of and they did. Another neighbor told them of the break-in to my house and what they had stored in their mind on early Saturday morning, became relevant. On April 1, 2008, the other side of this shotgun was robbed (3 pieces of heirloom jewelry and a broken digital camera). My neighbor who was leaving in 15 days and had just paid the rent for staying there on the very day she was robbed. She never stayed in her side of this shotgun again. My place was hit a few days before the new tenant moved in. 

A week before Easter Leyon Gaines was shot by his friend who was robbing him about 5 houses from his home.

Since January 5 2007, on this small block 10 houses on each side of the street, two of them vacant, there have been 2 murders and 1 attempted break-in, 1 break-in with nothing stolen everything tossed, and 2 robberies. 3 of the houses are close to mine that had the robberies and the murder of Jealina Brown occurred in the house across from my house.

What makes this unique to New Orleans is the fact that this is an "Uptown" area near Audubon Park. Big, wealthy houses three blocks away.  I live by the train tracks in a working class neighborhood called the "Black Pearl".  And it is. A culturally and historically relevant, beautiful, Black Pearl - it truly is.

The long time neighbors are telling me that robberies just didn't occur in this neighborhood. That this behavior is new to the neighborhood.  When I speak of  longtime and lifetime residents in this case I mean 30 - 40 + years.

What's different? I believe that it is directly related to a sudden influx of Caucasians - me included - to a historically Black New Orleanian neighborhood. The landlords in this area seem to be renting out to a lot of Caucasian people/students, and as I keep saying, this neighborhood, the Black Pearl, is a historically relevant neighborhood of middle class Americans of African decent in the culture of  New Orleans.

Uh, huh, this new influx of Caucasians are settling in and buying up the Black Pearl, creating a new neighborhood name that has more to do with real estate marketing, than any association with the culture and history of the neighborhood - the "Uptown Triangle" Association.  The neighborhood on the U.S, Census records is called the BLACK PEARL folks... And the landlords who place us in this neighborhood over better educated and often more financially stable BLACK New Orleans who are in need of housing are practicing a form of racism that is linked with real estate market practices that have probably been going on in this city for years. I am no fool, I am aware. And I feel what I see and perceive I see to be morally and ethically wrong and it is so counter culture to a community that is about family, family connections, and friends.

I think what I perceive to be happening here with brand New Orlean$ and the rebuilding of New Orleans could incorporate both demography and demographics

Somehow when we as a nation are polishing our national halo we seem to forget the cruel, inhumane, and violent things we have done, and continue to do to millions of people to bring about this prosperous, rich, democracy of capitalists.

Our national culture has become one of ADVERTISING, CONSUMING, SELF GRATIFICATION.

I am so proud to be staying the Black Pearl as a short term tenant. I am trying to leave as culturally small a footprint as possible, whilst just being me. If you are reading this blog and you have met me or know me, then you are aware that "just being me" can be pretty intense.

The morning after the break-in I told the neighbors who live nearby what happened and I knew that they would tell their nearby neighbors. Since then, many of my neighbors have been checking for me and stopping by to talk. I have been accepted and warmly welcomed into this historically relevant Black New Orleans's neighborhood as a woman not only from another culture, state, life-style; but as a person whom is welcomed for being who she is in a community of people who all know each other and have had long-time/life-time ties with each other.

It is ironic. Some of my Black neighbors tell me that they are happy to see more Caucasian people moving in. What I know about my culture and many who are not of the Caucasian culture do not always get about the euro immigrant American culture is, that many of the Caucasians that move into integrated neighborhoods now, who fit in and want to be a part of the dominant culture, are not the people who will come after us, in a few years, there will be others that come in that will not tolerate any deviance from the NORM that they want and are willing to pay for. They will change an area using the money they have to keep out who they do not want to see or have near them.

All out a lust for the properties and the amenities nearby.

It has been my experience that the Black Pearl is one of the few neighborhoods, where the white families who live in it are not even aware of it's cultural and historical relevance, nor do they care.

Monthly, I watch as this neighborhood is losing it's predominant culture. There is a pushing out by high rents of the people who have lived here since they were born. Along with that, as a long-time resident said, "we did not re-invest in our neighborhood and buy the properties for sale before the developers came through and bought them up."  For many that I speak with, the taxes on the homes in this area are becoming a burden for them and the insurance is very high, for middle class workers and the elderly who have spent their lives in this neighborhood this brings hardship. This is not a hardship for someone with money and more opportunities to make more - it is a hardship for families that are working class, with children to be with and tend to and the elderly.

This neighborhood so close demographically to St. Charles Avenue, Loyola, and the ever expanding Tulane and the wealthy and super wealthy who live "Uptown".  Also,  I haven't heard friends of mine in the 9th ward or 7th Ward complain about tax increases and high taxes. I could be wrong in detail and correct in supposition.

The Black Pearl is a historic neighborhood of Americans of African decent. The Buffalo soldiers first formed up the street on Walnut Street. Mt. Moriah church‘s pastor the Reverend Harvey, was a friend of, and one of the first six who formed the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, Jr and he still preaches at Mount Moriah Missionary church around the corner. Mahalia Jackson used to sing there as a girl. (I love sitting on my back steps on Sunday mornings listening to the choir).

Other Related Unpublished Notes: Released 2016

Those who speak to me of this neighborhood have told me that this is the first "neighborhood" of Americans of African decent in the city - but then the people "downtown" say they are the first! The Buffalo Soldiers which Ras Bob Marley sings of were formed here - on Walnut Street. I have been told by the elders that this is one of the first neighborhoods of Americans of African decent that enjoyed a taste of the "American Dream" - thanks to the unions and the work of the civil rights workers in the 60's.

I may not have all the facts presented correctly, nor do I know a whole lot - I have only been in New Orleans 'for a minute'. What I do know and what I perceive to be witnessing/happening to this wonderful neighborhood is rental gentrification. I believe the reason there are more burglaries in this neighborhood is because of the influx of PRIMARILY Caucasians (like me!) moving into this historically Black New Orleanian neighborhood and the income inequality.

I feel what is happening here has to do with the influx of students and Caucasian students who do not interact with the local community, it is all happening too fast for the community.

Since I have moved in here a year ago I have watched primarily Black New Orleanians walking and setting on the street talking to far many Tulane students, and folks with unusually big dogs (often one or two). Mostly students though, some professionals, rarely working class - 98% Caucasian.

How could a "Chocolate city" such as New Orleans have so many white students and so little signs of Black students moving in and going to school here? How about other races and cultures?

When I first arrived in New Orleans on February 2 of 2007 and met people who were the polar opposite in personality, culture, and HEART centeredness, of what I have known most of my life - I thought I had finally found a place where a heart like mine could live amongst people who naturally lived life from their hearts. And as a city, New Orleans has soooo much heart. 

I can only speak to the areas I have spent time in, the Upper and Lower 9th, Mid-city, the Black Pearl, along Oreatha Castle Haley, the 7th Ward. I have spent some time in Chalmette.  Hollygrove, for the short time I have spent there,  I had incredible interactions with the neighbors and community.


The elderly who have lived here most if not all their lives, have been telling me this is not a neighborhood where this many burglaries occurred. They shake their heads in wonderment at what is going on when I speak with them. There is a connection here - I know why this area is being hit - because so many white people are moving into a historically and predominately Black culture and the people moving in are primarily transient Caucasian students and Caucasian people who do not integrate into this community.
 I have found a deeper humanity within myself by being accepted into the awesome culture of Black New Orleans, sadly those who look like myself, Caucasians,  moving into the neighborhood seems to act as though the Black people who live here are to be feared and avoided.

On the burglary: Nothing was stolen. The house was totally tossed. I had with me the two most valuable things I own. Both objects have to do with my work - my laptop and my camera. Ever since the other side of the shotgun was robbed I have been following intuitive guidance that told me to just bring it everywhere with me. And I have. I am washing everything that I had in the back room which was my sleeping room. In the front room, a few cabinets and a drawer under the t.v. was searched through and left opened. This person who broke in spent the most time in the back room, the bedroom; this person closed the curtains between the front room and the back, that I leave tied up with a ribbon so I can to pass through.

There is a greater spiritual reason that has been coming to me in the last twenty four hours of my contemplation time. It feels as if I have already gone through as a spiritual initiate what it is like to deal with intense psychological darkness and come out on the other side - the shaman or the aesthetic would understand what I am speaking of.  Now it feels like I am going into a new level of trusting and having faith that the Light in the presence of embodied darkness in the form of violence that has not only entered my sanctuary, but sent someone back to take something else from me. The human aspects of me are saying “Come on, just ask me, that is the reason I am even here in New Orleans, to give, to help - stop stealin from me!”

Then my soul reminds me that I am here in service work and compared to the people whom I have met and hold in my heart, what I am going through is just a taste of the insecurity and violence they live in all the time. I am thinking of Ceophus and his wife in the Lower 9th, or Mrs. Gaines still trying to rebuild on her own at 75. So many of the elderly have died related to Katrina and the levee failures. So many families are suffering far worse violence then the break ins I am experiencing.

Prayers for all the suffering. Prayers for all the New Orleanians who have suffered from this devastating natural and man-made disaster.  Prayers for the communities and culture being destroyed in the lust for land and redistricting.

Peace. Your planetary sister.

Flowing with Change

When all else is stripped away as being without meaning,
love remains, eternally upholding the recognition of God's
presence in life, eternally offering a source of blessing.

-Julie Redstone
The Calendar of Healing

HOME - 70119

I am back home in New Orleans.

Can't say that I am ready to write or photograph much yet. Partly I am trying to find new ways to earn money to support my volunteer work.

I am living in the 7th Ward and it feels so wonderful to be back home...

I love the culture of family in the neighborhood where I live, the sounds of children about, mothers watching children, music in the air, people walking in the streets and yes, crime. The murder rate in NOLA so far this year is 109. Mostly children with guns killing children - teens and youths on the cusp of being an adult.

I am deeply grateful to be home, I was sitting in the backyard yesterday listening to the music playing and the sound of children's laughter in the air as a celebration was being held in the street in front of a nearby empty school. Today as I was working/sitting in the garden, I hear the sound of drums and brass in the air... yes, I give thanks for it is good to be home.

AND THEN THERE IS THE MOLD... We deal with long term affects of mold post-Katrina. I find that I am coming down with some of the symptoms of airborne mold, mucus, coughing, tightness of breath. I had a respiratory therapist tell me this, as I had no idea what was going on. It seems the children are suffering the most, with asthma, often I see children playing in the streets by houses that haven't been fully gutted yet and it is heartbreaking. 

Monies available to beautify the city, yet in the poorer neighborhoods, buildings and houses left in semi - or un-gutted states of decay and mold.