As I head over to NOLA.com, the following headines are the first thing I see:
Gulf Port Mayorfaces Katrina fraud Charges
St. Charles Parish Councilman in ethics bind over his day job
DA wants to try 14 year old as adult in French Quarter murder of Wendy Byrne
Letter offers clues to suicide death of family in Los Angeles; both parents had lost jobs
In a city like New Orleans, it is easy to feel despair. Despair is often felt by those without hope. With the crime rate, the education system, and the elected officials in office, it is easy to feel like right now, our city has no hope.
It made me think, though, doesn’t all this negativity just feed into more negativity? Doesn’t this despair just feed into more despair? Don’t we then begin to ride a carousel of self-loathing, pity, sadness, depression, and defeat? I know I have experienced it. I experienced it earlier this week when I questions whether or not I should continue to call New Orleans home, or if I should move and start life over again in a small community, a safe community, sacrificing what it is that drew me from Wisconsin to Louisiana in the first place.
It took simple comment from another good hearted New Orleanian to change my way of thinking. That comment was followed by many more. Those comments were followed my e-mails and a real feeling of community, seeing what good there is in this city, seeing what good can be done. It took a gesture, a card from a classroom of third graders, to melt away the bitterness that was starting to encase my heart.
New Orleans does have crime. It does have undesirables. It also has ineffective leaders. Do you know what else New Orleans has? It has heart. It has a city full of survivors. It has kindess. It has potential.
We all read enough bad things about New Orleans. It IS important to acknowledge them. It IS important to organize and change the city. It is also important to remember the beauty and the kindness that exists here.
I think that I am going to start a blog about the Good News in this city, not just the bad. A blog where the human spirit that encompasses what New Orleans really is can be revealed, appreciated, and acknowledged.
We may be the city that care forgot, but we are NOT the city that forgot to care.
Today is one of my favorite kind of days in New Orleans. The street is quiet, except for those walking home from church. My neighbor is in her yard, raking. The sky is overcast and the temperature is cool. And I sit on my porch, with a throw blanket and cup of coffee, breathing it all in. This is the New Orleans I love, the New Orleans were strangers wish you well as they pass by, where you can feel the history and the struggle and the triumph that this city has faced with grace, standing strong and standing tall.
There are about a million things that I should do today. Not thos fun things that adults are required to do, like laundry and dishes or mopping the floor, but those things can all wait until tomorrow. Today I am going to sit here, out on the porch, and curl up with a book, notebook, and pen, and just enjoy this.
For anyone interested, Blue Cypress Books on Oak St. is going to be having a book club meeting, their first, on February 1, 2009 . The book they are reading is Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. I am pretty dang excited about that! Y’all should take a stop down at Blue Cypress Books if you get a chance. I absolutely LOVE this book store and never leave empty handed. And you can trade books in for store credit, too! They just started a frequent reader program that awards a free book after the book mark is filled. LOVE IT.
I am also considering trying to form a writing group in the Carrolton/Oak St. area. If anyone would be interested please e-mail me at email@example.com