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Hollins’s Prodigal Son finally back in NOLA

My big cousin, Rapper and Producer Big E, Jeff, Eric (so many names lol) is back in NOLA after years of living in Bonk Boring Iowa. Sorry Iowa, I’m not a fan of the whole state and that’s why naming the city he lived in is irrelevant. Iowa is everything New Orleans is not, there’s no culture, cuisine, entertainment or anything there.  Let me stop, Des Moines is at least pass through-able 😂 and has a decent State Fair. I think the few visits there didn’t go well, I could not find a decent plate of food…FB_IMG_1515139280121

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Let me get back to my cousin and his re-entry to his native city. Eric actually came home last April for our grandmother’s, Momo funeral. I knew after seeing him then, he would return.

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I didn’t foresee it being this soon, I’m still in shock that he actually has bags. I envisioned when he would return it would be with his new family, regardless of the timing and him being solo, I’m happy he is here for him. I say “Happy for him” because like me, he never got NOLA out his system. The soul of New Orleans lived within his heart and soul softly whispering that he return and doing so patiently.

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Over the years he always wanted to come home, if even for a an extended vacation, but the state of life in New Orleans for him and other young black men prevented him from coming..Eric was one of the first teen rappers in the 80s to make the news. He won a rapping contest which put him put him in front of people in the music industry..

It was so sad that he went to prison months later for a burgerly he did prior to the contest. It seems as if the record labels weren’t the only ones who recognize his talent…He was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to 4 years in Angola Adult Prison. Angola has been one of the worst prisons in America, since it was built. Looking back I can’t believe they sentenced a nonviolent child to do hard time there, especially in that era. It was a blessing in disguise that he had family on his Father’s side doing life and he was tough, because it would not be easy.

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He actually served almost 7 years after being involved in a very bloody fight that left a man severely injured. It was as if the system set him up to kill or get killed in prison, luckily he didn’t fall prey to either. My Momo and her connection with God is why he overcame all that was intended to destroy him while he was in prison and after he was released. Another blessing, he never returned to any prison since that bid and has lived a nice life, apart from the womanizing. He gonna kill me 😂 but maybe he has been a compulsive cheater, because of the years he spent locked up with access to women. That’s another story and I’ll share on a later date.

He turned 21 years old when he was released from Angola in the early 90s after being in their for most his teen years. I couldn’t imagine growing up as a teen in prison and remaining hopeful upon release, but Eric was. He attempted to create a good life for himself here then, but my Momo knew the streets would call for him and he was sent North soon afterwards. Even though he was not living here, he was determined to be successful. He has worked the same job for years in printing, produced his and others music and owned a recording studio. I’m proud of the man he grown into.

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As he entered my home with his suitcases, it reminded me of when he was released those years ago, eyes wide, full of hope, excitement, joy mixed with a little fear, but wisdom seems to have trained fear to take a chill pill. A little fear, especially in Eric with his fleeting ways can be beneficial for him, because it will enable him to use discernment and caution.

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My cousin and I have been very close since I was born, we actually are more like brother and sister. Our relationship is the typical Big Brother and Lil Sister, he’s always in my business, don’t like me to have no boyfriends, works on my nerves, sensitive; like I can make this big man cry, he is honest with me, tells me embarrassing things, buys me gifts, let’s me drive his car and the list goes on, but the most important thing is, he loves and is protective of me. It’s something how a man can be this way With the women in their family, but not with the women they have to spend the rest of their lives with and create and raise their very own family. Maybe, it’s, because we were with them when they peed in the bed and cried over taking a bath with bubbles. 🤷🏾 I Wi don’t know, but speaking with him over the years I just knew he would be a wonderful boyfriend and husband.🤦🏿 Maybe, that’s the reason he never liked my men, because, he knew they were just like him. Well with his recent news and being here I can safely assume that my dating life is on mute while he here…

 

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He came at a good time, because with my blogging and research it involves me going to various events and having a body guard will be nice lol, just playing. I actually need a date like for balls and etc, especially if none of my girls will attend with me. I can’t just take no regular ole date to a ball, I’m not seriously dating anyone right now and a ball is serious dating.  Eric is reallt outgoing, he’s well trained, so I don’t have to worry about him embarrassing me 😂. Plus he’s in the industry and. that can help with more invites.. I just hope my days won’t turn into days of waiting for him at some studio and running around town with him reconnecting with friends. That would not be a good look for me…my lip hanging down to the floor, arms and legs crossed with anger. 💁🏿🙅🏾

The loss of Momo affected his personal and professional life severely. He was really close to Momo, she was actually a Mother to him as well. My Auntie Pat, well his Mama had him at 14yrs old in 1970 and you know back then it wasn’t as accepted to be a teen Mom, but Momo wasn’t sending her daughter away. She allowed Auntie Pat to continue school, live her life while she care for Eric, they coparented in a sense. His bind with Momo was different than the other grandchildren, he was her baby and they had gone through so much together as he grew up. I know I am torn, therefore I can only imagine how he feels. Her death is a hard one to accept.

I believe being home for awhile will serve a good purpose for him. The feelings he described felt when he put his foot on Nola ground and filled his lungs, reminds me of the pull I felt to return home. To a Native New Orleanian being away feels like you are missing something, a lost puzzle piece, an orphan child or in his case, the prodigal son living in a foreign land finally made his way home. He will renew  his spirit; his soul will be at peace and his heart will be filled with joy and he will be restored, mind, body and soul. I hope he knows he can claim his inheritance that God promised him long ago, to finally live in his land that will provide him an overflow of Milk and an abundance of Honey.

 

Nola Chic

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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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