Living Breezy in the Big Easy

I posted this on my other blog, vagnola88 too…whooo

I woke up this morning around 9 A.M and decided to cook a large breakfast.  I turned on some Andrew Bird and quietly made sweet tea, surprise bacon and eggs for my boyfriend.  It has been a few gorgeous days in New Orleans since Tropical Storm Lee; the weather hasn’t been this cool and pleasant probably since April.  The sky was (and still is) bright blue and the slight breeze danced through the giant leaves of my banana trees in the backyard.  My roommate too, awoke and we began to cook together, pleasantly joking and talking and enjoying a lazy Sunday morning.

We found ourselves afterwards sitting in the living room watching the Count of Monte Cristo when all of a sudden we heard a sound.  Jazz chords and a horse neighing (?).  The three of us ran to the balcony and found a second line ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_line_(parades)) outside rounding the corner of Carondelet and Martin Luther King.

It’s one of the things I love most about this city.  You wake up some days and there’s an immediate party outside.  Now, realizing today IS September 11th, that’s probably what the second-line was commemorating.  The purpose of second line’s are to celebrate what has moved on and celebrate the life’s transition into another form of energy.  At traditional jazz funerals, the second lines have a small period of quiet reflection when leaving the church and entering the cemetery , but most of the time it’s a party, and participants dance down the street and/or  join the musicians with their own instruments.

The model of the second line should be applied to many models of living.  There is a time to grieve, be quiet and reflective, yes, but we have to move on and try and not let the past keep us in despair.  Americans in general spend too much time grieving.  Not saying your allowed to miss someone, or reflect upon the life-altering experiences we’ve gone through, but what good does this do?

September 11th was a horribly sad day for so many thousands of innocent people who lost their lives, and we should preserve their memories.  Is it too much to ask that we do it with love for each other, music, laughter and celebrating?  Is it too much to ask that instead of rallying a belligerent American spirit (which, I’m sure thousands today are doing) and trying to move on from that pain and focus on what’s right in the world?

I know.  I sound like that hippie that spends too much time smoking pot in their parents basement, and trust me, I’m not that girl.  You’ll see in my future posts that I’m one of the harshest and most critical females to roam this planet.  But aren’t you tired?  Aren’t you tired of being angry, being afraid of an enemy that you will most likely never see?

We just “celebrated” an anniversary here in New Orleans a few weeks ago; August 29th was the anniversary of when Katrina hit six years ago in 2005.  1,800 people died as a result of the storm.  Even though much of the city was in ruins, Mardi Gras in 2006 went on, just as planned.  You may say whatever you want about this city, but you cannot question its indomitable spirit, and willingness to thrive under the harshest conditions.

Last year, after the Saints won the Superbowl, and things seemed like for the first time in five years to be looking up for the city, BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana, creating the worst environmental disaster EVER in history, killing millions of animals, abruptness ecosystems, and destroying thousands of ways of life in the Gulf Coast area.  Now, it seems only fitting that TODAY, September 11th which marks the day of a tragedy is the last day of the seafood festival in which we celebrate life back in the Gulf Coast.

There is still much work to be done since the storm and the spill.  There are still 60,000 blighted properties in the city of New Orleans, and still reports of tar-balls and oil sheens still on our beaches and in our marshes.  But the people of this city still find small ways to celebrate, through music, dancing, food, and especially though their families and friends.

Many people who don’t live here wonder why we should bother even saving New Orleans, and there’s one simple explanation for that, because New Orleans knows how to grieve better than any of you could ever live.

Go out today and have a drink with your friends, and dance to some music.  Get carried away.  Do something nice for yourself.  Stop grieving.  Start living.

There is a saying that is really quite commonplace and trite,every tourist says it and you start to hate it after a while, but I find it quite fitting for today: laissez-les bon temps roulez, let the good times roll.  This party aint stopping just cause you died, baybeh.

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