Saturday, October 22, 2005

paraders

A year and a month ago I wrote in this blog that my son, Tim, was moving to Paris. I haven't seen him since then. He's coming home tonight, to stay for two weeks.
But besides that, there are other things to think about. I've been wanting to write in this blog but because I haven't been teaching, I didn't know what to write. Cassandra telephoned me today and we talked about that and she made the point that the reason I'm not teaching right now is very significant and that perhaps I could write about that. And so I shall. Thank you, Cassandra.
Katrina struck eight weeks ago this coming Monday. All the students that Frederick Douglass High School served scattered. There is no more 9th ward or lower 9th ward, and there's only a partial 8th ward. I wonder what happens when the 9th ward students meet the 8th ward students in Dallas, for example? In New Orleans we'd call that a ward fight. I'm wondering if they're still fighting?
Today I spoke with Linda G, a student I wrote a lot about in last year's blog. She called and left a message for me yesterday from California. She gave me the skinny on a lot of my students. That's why she was calling. And also to check on me. She said she was worried about me. I found out that most of the kids she and I had in common with each other are in Texas. One of them had her baby, a girl. Several of them Linda saw on the news right after the storm, at the Superdome. One of those was a girl who gave me a hard time last year, about whom I wrote quite a bit. I can just imagine her being at the Superdome and some National Guardsman with an M16 and steel-toed boots telling her what to do. Wow! I KNOW those Oregonians never heard a girl speak like I do not doubt she spoke to them. I believe Linda said this girl was in the Superdome for five days, tending to her mother. This girl, EN, is the girl who cursed me out, threw her writings on the floor, and left my classroom, and I chased her down the hall. It was so explosive and out of control that I knew something else was going on with her and I tried to get her to come back and talk to me, or at least let me help her to someone else she could talk to. But I got another fuck you for that. Anyway, one of her friends told me there was a big problem with EN's mother, but that's all I ever knew. The other kids made remarks to EN about her mother's crack habit, so maybe it was that. Anyway, she was on the national news outside the Superdome.
A lot of people say they're never coming back to New Orleans, but I don't think that's possible. The world out there is not like New Orleans, which is good and bad. It's good for the people who needed to get unstuck and out of here, but it's bad for the people who love the city. Like Linda. She said there's no city like this on the planet.
I'm extremely scattered. For eight weeks now it has been one emergency after another, in a city that is much worse off than the news is able to show. Life here is nothing but emergency. And everyone is in shock. And most people are deeply sad. Personally, my life (I'm home, have been for two weeks. Before returning to stay I snuck in five times, just to be here.) my life is easy, but lonely. I haven't been able to make words of my feelings or of anything. Yesterday I bought a new refrigerator (the old one is down the block, duct-taped, full of food that has been in it for eight weeks without coolness...
nine people, two of them drumming, just paraded down Royal Street past my house, right past all the refrigerators...
Where was I? About to get maudlin. And then comes a parade.
We are going to have the most unbelievable Mardi Gras this year. Pass the word.

Melanie

2 Comments:

Anonymous Cassandra said...

An honest picture of your reality right now. Absolutely incredible! (in good ways and bad...) Thank you for sharing.

Mardi Gras this year has a whole new meaning, hense why people are celebrating "early" -- wait, do people ever STOP celebrating?!!?

New Orleans is alive, you are alive, and your kids are alive.

P.S. - I want to give your son a hug! A big purple hug!! Tell him I said thank-you.

7:59 PM  
Blogger marg said...

I'm glad to see you blogging again. Miss you,

marg

3:56 PM  

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