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A train ride to New Orleans from Hammond, LA

As I walked through the door of the train station, the smell of life once was hit me in the face. It was a pleasant woody loving smell.

The Hammond Depot Station, well the railway was established in 1854. The actual station opened in 1912 and was renovated in 2008, but they made sure not to change much. The building itself is still the same structure; the old handmade wood benches sit in their same spots, and the ticket counter had a worker behind it that looked like he could pop up at any moment to say “All Aboard!”

The smell overcame me to the point I had to sit down to let it all soak in. It felt like I slipped into a time of hope, mixed with worry and uncertainty of the unknown, but the courage of knowing anything can be overcome.

I felt a sense that something would be waiting for me, something beautiful, like a beautifully designed life wrapped shiny paper with a big bow!

It’s like someone deep within the very being of my very soul said: “Get on the train and BE, let go of the fear of your thoughts of what can’t be and BE.” I felt a Light guiding me towards, not only, attaining my ultimate level in life, but being it, enjoying it, celebrating it.

Here it comes!!!

It doesn’t feel like I’m going up the road, back to New Orleans, which is only an hour away. It feels like I’m going on a journey to live life, enjoy every piece of it and the people in it. Living it unafraid, expecting a mountain to conquer, a bridge to cross, and the courage to discover what I was thought was impossible …

This was my first” train ride. I put it off each time I go out there because it takes two hours to get to New Orleans, which is only an hour ride even by train. I called to find out why it took two hours instead of the one and found it was because the train decreases speed when it enters the city. I couldn’t imagine sitting on a fast train envisioning bikes or people walking pass us by. Either way, I already had the $16 ticket, which is a great deal, so there I was entering the stations parking lot. I couldn’t believe it. I was thinking where is the rest of it. I was in Hammond, which is a small slow laid back town, so yup this is it. I got out the door, stepped back, took my glasses off, and smiled for some unknown reason. Thinking what we do for love. I spent time with my boyfriend now its time to go back home to my babies. It’s my niece’s 6th bday!
Do I need to say this was a life-changing priceless train ride…

Sweet roomy seats, there are sleeping rooms as well.

I have no choice, but to do it, because without even knowing who, someone before me did it and made way for me to continue down this road of life.

A time not so long ago.

My ancestors made it so that I can buy a ticket online without showing who I am; it doesn’t matter if I was male, female, or the color of my skin. I can simply go to this same old station of forgotten hard times, show my ticket, and sit where I please.

Just like that, I can do Me in ease, because of those who came before fought a great fight just for me…Nola Chic

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It looks like you can jump right on the clouds from the levee and walk the clouds to the sky

My Nola Girls

My sweetheart and I

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A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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