My family is from Louisiana for generations on both sides but my path home was winding. After living in Maryland, Washington D.C., Japan, Alabama, New York and Los Angeles, I finally moved to New Orleans in late 2009. And I’ve never been happier. When I got here, the Saints were on their way to winning the Superbowl and the city was vibrating with optimism. Most of the people who would come home after the Storm were back. Katrina money was being spent on street repairs and schools were getting instruments from places like Tipitina’s Foundation. Buildings, homes, t-shirts and more exclaimed, “Believe” and “Renew, Rebuild, Rebirth.” It was intoxicating. Continue reading
Tag Archives: funeral
Last Friday, after 2 weeks of daily second lines in his memory, Treme Brass Band‘s bass drummer, Uncle Lionel Batiste, was to be laid to rest. To say it was raining doesn’t begin to cover it. Waiting for a streetcar to take me into town, I stood in the neutral ground wearing a plastic hoodie sack and rubber sandals and gripping an umbrella against water coming from all sides. When no streetcar appeared, I jumped onto a bus and we all stared out the windows at the flooding in the streets. It was pouring when the ride came to its final stop. Bourbon Street was a canal with water coming up over the sidewalks and into the shops’ open doors. By the time I crossed Rampart heading into Armstrong Park, the water was nearly knee high. Continue reading
Friday the 13th was a lucky day for most New Orleanians. First, there was the good news that quarterback Drew Brees finally signed his contract with the Saints. Even without our coach, now we can go back to believing that we could have the first team to ever play a Super Bowl on their own turf. Geaux Saints! Who Dat!?!
It was raining cats as we made our way to Tuba Fats Square in the Treme, a memorial square dedicated to the preservation of music from the historic Treme neighborhood, the first black suburb in America. Musicians played in the crowded Candlelight Lounge next door, the home of Uncle Lionel‘s regular Wednesday gig with the Treme Brass Band, as people from all over the city gathered to second line in memory of their favorite Uncle. Continue reading