Police presence, tantrums, and the one thing I remember

There are many things about my childhood I have forgotten. Or so I’ve been told. After all, I’ve forgotten them. For example, my sister and I were reminiscing recently about the times we used to get locked out after school while our parents were still at work. We’d find a way to climb up to the roof to get in through a side window that was often left open. One time, a neighbor who didn’t recognize us – or perhaps just greatly disliked us – saw us on the roof and called the police. My sister was so animated in her recollection of this near-arrest. I, on the other hand, could not remember this event even if my life depended upon it, which is odd to me given how dramatic it was.

One strong memory that I do have, however, falls so low on the excitement scale that there is hardly any logical reason for it to be as clear and as present as it is in my mind. It is the memory of being at the roller-skating rink as a child, going in circles over and over again in that run-down community rink. I remember going often. I wasn’t out to become some sort of professional, famous roller-skater, if there is such a thing. Apparently, I just really enjoyed the thrill of going around in circles, which may explain a lot about my current state. But I digress. The specific memory that stands out as though it were yesterday is that of my mom sitting on the side. I would look for, and happily find, her face with every round I made. Looking back, that must have been tortuously dull for her. She would bring me on weeknights, which meant she had to be up early the next day for work. And as hard as it is to imagine, I’m sure there were plenty of other things she would have rather been doing than watching me go around that rink, again and again and again. But it meant something to me. I remember her presence there so well.

We can be so easily deceived in our perception of the mundane things. Sometimes I hear people say something along the lines of, “I have a Masters degree. I shouldn’t have to clean up after people like this.” As if the serving of others ought to be reserved for people of lower significance, because not only are those people less important, but so is what they do. Many of my parent friends have told me about their struggle with what they do in secret every day. All day. Or all night. Change another poopy diaper. Do the same load of laundry I did three days ago. Cook yet another meal. No one knows, and no one sees, except this inconsolable child throwing a tantrum on the floor.

I probably threw plenty of tantrums throughout the other days when I was not at that roller-skating rink, complaining about who knows what. I don’t remember my tantrums, though I’m sure my mom does. She probably doesn’t remember much about those nights in the roller-skating rink, but I do. I remember them so very well.

NOLA on Fresh Pressed!

Status

I’m a little blown away, and very much overjoyed, that my last post on New Orleans was not only Fresh Pressed but so well received! I greatly appreciate all the kind words re: my photography. But more than anything, I’m just so thrilled that so many people got to read and see good things about the amazing and very special city of New Orleans. For those of you who posted comments about your appetites being whetted to go…   do it!  You won’t regret it. I’m already trying to plan my next trip back to discover more of the magic that is New Orleans. Thank you again! It’s pretty incredible to connect with such a diverse group of people through blogging.

please tell them there’s nothing wrong with New Orleans

It was an odd but repeated request during my time in New Orleans for a nursing conference. “Please go home and tell them there’s nothing wrong with New Orleans. That’s all we ask.” The tour guide for our cemetery tour said that some people thought New Orleans was still under water, even though six whole years have passed since Hurricane Katrina.

So I am here to fulfill my promise to them. There is nothing wrong with New Orleans. In fact, there are a lot of things that are quite right and quite lovely. It was one of the most unique and fascinating cities I have ever had the opportunity to visit. While there are clearly struggles with poverty in NOLA, compounded by a mark left by Katrina that is not always physically obvious but still pervasive in your gut as you walk the streets, there is also a strong sense of a rich culture that did not die, but rather gained a renewed fire because of what this city has endured.

So to answer the question of the potential tourist, New Orleans is not submerged under water. There are more forms of public transportation in NOLA than what you would find in Los Angeles. And they are much, much more charming.

There was, of course, the food! This is the famous Cafe du Monde, serving up its classic combination of beignets and cafe au laits.

I discovered pralines during this trip. I’d always heard of them in the context of other things such as praline ice cream, but never actually knew what a pure praline was: an intense combination of sugar and butter and pecans melted and firmed into the most amazing deliciousness.

There is the spirituality and mysticism of the Big Easy:

There was the architecture, from the *very* old to just old.

These tombs below were those set aside for the Protestants, in the back, less visible area of the cemetery.

This pyramid-like tomb is reported to be Nicolas Cage’s future burial site.

I wish I’d gotten more and better pictures of the charming Creole cottages. But here is at least a glimpse as to the charm of these Southern homes.

And finally, the music. The incredible music that you heard anywhere and everywhere, anytime and every time.

The dueling pianos could play anything that was requested of them.

There were street performers everywhere, young and younger still.

Blues, jazz, bluegrass – NOLA had it all.

The music was what I remember the most. It was as if to say, we still know and love and want to express who we are. New Orleans is alive and well. Come find it in our music.