Saturday, December 17, 2005

Chris Rose: "We're having Mardi Gras and that's final!"

I love Chris Rose, the Times-Picayune columnist. I always thought he was funny, and now he's my hero.

He has done so many great post-Katrina columns; he has even shared his personal depression concerning the storm. In a December 13th column, he forcefully argues for this year's Mardi Gras, and I wish everyone would read what he writes:

And here's a simple, not-so-eloquent reason why: If we don't have Mardi Gras, then the terrorists win. The last thing we need right now is to divide ourselves over our most cherished event.

The terrorists win! You have to admit that's funny... And he knows the truth-- Mardi Gras is more than the rest of the country might think it is.

If the national news wants to show people puking on Bourbon Street as a metaphor for some sort of displaced priorities in this town, so be it. The only puking I've seen at Mardi Gras in the past 10 years is little babies throwing up on their mothers' shoulders after a bottle.

To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.

Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.


Well, what is it then, Chris?

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods and our joy of living. All at once.

And it doesn't really matter if there are superparades or even any parades at all this year. Because some group of horn players will grab their instruments and they will march Down the Avenue because that's what they do, and I, for one, will follow.

If there are no parades, I'm hitching a boombox to a wagon, putting James Booker on the CD player and pulling my kids Down the Avenue and you're welcome to come along with me and where more than two tribes gather, there is a parade.

No Grinch can steal Mardi Gras!

We are the parade. We are Mardi Gras. We're Whoville, man -- you can take away the beads and the floats and all that crazy stuff, but we're still coming out into the street. Cops or no cops. Post-parade garbage pick-up or no garbage pick-up -- like anyone could tell the friggin' difference!

Let the whole damn country hear Al Johnson yelling "It's Carnival Time" and let them know we're not dead and if we are dying, we're going to pretend like we're not.

Fly the flag. Be in that number. This is our battle to win or lose. Hopefully, of one mind and one message. That we are still here. And that we are still New Orleans.

Amen.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Best Levees In The World

Donald Powell, White House reconstruction man, said that the President is committed to building the "best levees known in the world" in New Orleans.

Let's hold him to his word.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

New Orleans - Diversity = Orlando

No offense to Mickey Mouse and his crew, but Slyvana Joseph is right in her editorial today.

New Orleans needs all kinds of people to be New Orleans. It's not a party without everybody. In case you're too lazy to click on the link, here's an excerpt from the T-P today:

We don't always get along, but we always get together. We are not separate and equal, we are intertwined and insane. We don't like anyone else's food, drink or music. We let you take your wine to go but make you sit to eat a doughnut. We are more than black and white, Hispanic and Asian, we are more than rich and poor, we are amazingly more than American.

We are New Orleanians.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The best article I've read about New Orleans

This is how it is.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A little bit of homesickness

Hey everyone,

This last month has been huge. (just like dear old dad would say)

I scored in the top 2% on my LSAT. That's a big deal. My future is all but sealed.

I saw Washington DC. For a conference. It was great.

Raul came. We had an amazing time together. We are an awesome team, and I'm crazier than ever for him.

He showed me Boston. Kudos to Jan, somewhere out there, for a great experience! Coming back to Rindge after that weekend was a little bit of a let down.

It's really cold now. I want to party, but I don't want to go outside. I miss my friends from home, and the nice mild New Orleans winter. People keep telling me I just have a month left, but it seems like a very loooooooooooong month.

The kids at FPC are cool, and I've made some good friends, but I just miss New Orleans so much right now. It would certainly be different if I had chosen to leave and had said goodbye to everyone formally. But I didn't. I didn't get to despedirse with my old life.

On Tuesday I will get to see what's left; I fly in for Thanksgiving.

I'm nervous.

Jessica

PS: Raul is spending the winter in Michigan, taking lessons from a fabulous violinist, Dylana Jensen. I'll leave you with a great picture of him at Halloween.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Yeah, so it's been a long time...

This has been easily the hardest month of my life. There have been so many ups and downs, I barely know where to begin.

Just kidding, I do.

I climbed a mountain- a WHOLE mountain. Mount Monandnock. All by myself.
If you don't believe me, there are pictures. Just scroll a ways down and you'll see that I'm in quite a few of them, wearing a green shirt and white fleece.

Everybody asks me why I don't have that much of an accent. I tell them because New Orleans is not like the rest of the south. They don't believe me, I don't think. Oh well.

I guess I's just ignant. Glad thar's a KKK meetin night in the woods, so's I can cry to my feller klanswomen...

Speaking of sterotypes....

A lot of Yankee stereotypes aren't true. Here are two that are:

1) Their food is bland. Only occasionally are things seasoned. The Walmart only sold mild and medium salsa, NO hot.

2) Yankees, specially New Englanders, love apples. Ok, so maybe that wasn't a stereotype before, but it is now. They know all the names of different apples, they like to pick them. Our cafeteria always has bananas, oranges, and THREE different types of apples. I've seen people playing an apple card game here. I need to buy cheap plates for my room, and the cheapest ones I could find have ONLY apples painted on them. Not all kinds of fruits, just apples. Like, that's what I REALLY want, when I finish a big bowl of spaghetti-- to see great big apples painted on my plate. I've even had APPLE PIE SHOTS! Those things are unbelievably awesome, big thumbs up for them. Finally the phrase "American as Apple Pie" makes sense to me, although I prefer Nick's proposal: "American as Red Beans and Rice."

Let's discuss FPC/New Hampshire drinking laws next (with good old Loyola/New Orleans life examples beside them):


Kegs are prohibited on campus. (Kegs are provided through the student activities fees for senior barbecues ON THE RES QUAD at Loyola).

Beer and wine are the only alcohol that can be purchased at grocery stores. Hard booze can only be purchased during the very specific hours during which the STATE RUN liquor store is open.
(Hey, it's 2 in the morning, I feel like making margaritas. Let's run down to walmart and get a handle of Tequila!)

Drinking games are illegal. (Enough said.)

It's illegal to have open containers outside. (In New Orleans the bars give "go cups" so you won't take your glass outside and break it on the street.)

AND THE BEST FOR LAST....

YOU, if intoxicated, are considered an open container! If you've been drinking, it's ILLEGAL to go outside, just walk on the street with no booze in hand!!! (THIS RULE WOULD OUTLAW LIFE IN NEW ORLEANS! Mardi Gras day means over 1,000,000 New Hampshirian criminals reveling in open air!)

So yeah, there's been a little bit of culture shock, especially when a huge party busted out singing Neil Diamonds "Sweet Caroline" last week! WHERE AM I?

Seriously, I love all you FPC people, you rock my world. Specially down in those lakeviews, with your ardent yet illegal beer pong and kings.

Even though the parties supposedly have to end at 2, we have lots of fun running from the cute little campus safety and the omnipresent Rindge PD. Good times!

I'll update more now that the greatest part of the trauma seems to be over.

Just bear with me!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rindge, NH (EDT!!!)-- HOW DID I GET HERE?

I am in New Hampshire.

That's right, Katrina swept me away from my cozy home in the Big Easy

to

Baton Rouge

then

El Paso, Texas

and NOW

Franklin Pierce College in Ruralruralruralruralrural
RINDGE, NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Why? Because my family doesn't have money to give me, and the folks here were very gracious and offered to not only help me with tuition, but also to give me housing, food, books, and winter clothes.

When I arrived in the Manchester airport, I was met by the Provost of the college, two newspaper reporters, and one TV camera. The TV people found me "amable," and followed us from the airport to the college, about a half hour drive. Turns out I got a minute long spot on the local news today. I also did two radio interviews...

I'm famous, probably the New Orleanian in New Hampshire.

It is beautiful here, and I am very very happy to be here, although sometimes I cry and miss my friends and my city.

Thank God I found one small bottle of hot sauce (Tabasco, woo woo!) in the cafeteria.

And, thank God that: I have a great schedule of classes, the kids are pretty intelligent and engaged, and the teachers are working with me, and the housing is good, and the people are sooo nice...

So much for all my stereotypes about Yankees... even as I write two people have come up to me, people from the cafeteria and from class, and asked me how I'm doing and made me feel good about everything.

Within a fifty mile radius of this beautiful campus, Thorton Wilder set Our Town, Thoreau wrote On Walden Pond (one of my favorite works EVER) and RW Emerson composed North of Boston and the very famous "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I tooked the one less travelled by..."

Yes, I have certainly taken The Road Less Travelled-- we took several, actually, to get to this campus.

This is so different from what I'm used to... there are 1600 kids at this school, and 98% live on campus. The campus has a lake, and there are kayaks and canoes I can borrow like a book from the library. In the winter, the mountain will cover with snow and the lake will freeze, and people are already trying to convince me to ice skate, and to grab a tray from the cafeteria and sled down the mountain with them--hey, that's what they do for fun around here. I guess they do it because KEGS ARE ILLEGAL. WHAT! At Loyola, we SPONSER parties with kegs for seniors-- it comes out of student fees! But I've gotten the downlow-- the key is to bury the keg in the snow, so no one can see it...
WHERE AM I?!?!

I am in Ringe, New Hampshire, embarking on an adventure I would have never imagined for myself. Katrina blows my mind.

If you want to call me, you can try my cell phone... but it might not work because I'm in the middle of the woods and service isn't great. Or you can call 603 899 4100. My extension is 3848.

I refuse to change the posting time from Central to Eastern, just to let you know.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Mom is SAFE!

They evacuated her from Charity Hospital and she'll be with us in a couple of days!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

PRAYING FOR MY CITY- PLEASE READ!

New Orleans is underwater. I can't even breathe when I look at the photos; my beautiful city is on fire, submerged, drowning. Over a million people had to leave their homes-- most of those people will have no homes to go back to in the end.

MY MOTHER, A NURSE, IS STILL TRAPPED IN CHARITY HOSPITAL. Patients are dying around her without their necessary machines, she hasn't bathed in days, is eating very little. Garbage is stinking, it's sweltering and dark, most of her nurses know their houses are under up to 10 feet of water. 10s of thousands of people need to be evacuated from the city in boats and buses. Meanwhile, she says the floodwaters are full of glass shards from broken windows, and stink of sewage and dead people.

Thousands and thousands of people are missing. 504 cell phone numbers are recieving busy signals, and families can not get in touch with one another. Finally I am hearing that my family is safe, although I know for a fact that my Grandma's house is totally underwater. I'm not sure about mine.

People are dying in the city! WATER FOOD CLOTHING is needed. We can't even think about saving the city for months, what's important now is to SAVE PEOPLE! If you have money to give to help rescue efforts/ emergency shelters, a house where refugees could stay please give! The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities are all in need of financial assistance. Please please please help!

For now, my little brother, father, grandma, dog, and myself are all safe with my uncle in El Paso, who has generously taken us in... so much for my senior year of college, we won't be able return for at least months... but I'm safe, so I'm lucky.

Friday, February 18, 2005

too awesome!

I saw The Fens at the Neutral Ground last night. They are too awesome! Make them famous, people!

I've been thinking a lot about free market economics lately, thanks to a fortuitous meeting on the plane ride back to New Orleans. I've also been thinking about God and stuff. More on both of those later... What have you been thinking about?