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NOLA Angels

Today I woke up to a beautiful text from my EBONY Princess, “Nana, you gonna be famous, you gonna buy us a big house again and we gonna hv gold in it Nana. I just know it Nana, I woke up in a good mood!” Is what my 8yr old granddaughter texted me at 10am. Her words brought tears to my eyes, as my mind took me back to my own 8yr old self.

I was once a little girl who dreamed of being rich with a husband, 10 children, a mansion with a white fence around it, with a mother n law house in back , a dog, a cat, a chimpanzee, a lion a pool and an amusement park in my back yard. I did get the 10 children, but by way of other women’s wombs, giving birth to 3 of my own and burying my 1 month old baby girl at 18yrs old. I love children and I am blessed that God granted at least that childhood wish of being a mother & Auntie Dee.

I was blessed to have what my family described as a 6 bedroom, 3 bath mini mansion that sat on top of the only hill on my block. I didn’t hv a relationship with my neighbors, because the houses were hundreds of yards apart and my house sat 150 yards away from the street. It still takes some adjusting to hvn neighbors, sharing a wall and being so close.

I had the husband too well I had two of them, weddings that girls dream of. Even had a few zeros behind the money I made, even had my dream car, well my Mom’s, I brought it just so she could ride in it, she didn’t drive, but I looked good in a Cadillac.

My dream didn’t come completely true, but God did add the things he saw fit.

As I sit in my now 3 bedroom New Orleans shotgun rental, my youngest adopted baby is 7yrs old is with my Mom for the summer, so I can get my brand together. I love my neighborhood, but last summer my 16yr old niece had to pull her from under this man’s car as the backend of it collided with her bike throwing her off it and under the car. It’s a blessing she was only banged and bruised up, but with that and the shooting a couple months ago and my schedule I didnt feel safe with her being here. It’s not like she has a sibling here where they could look out for each other. I love that she can experience summers with her cousins as I did back in the day.

My son is preparing to return to college on a partial basketball scholarship. I spoiled my one and only, but its like he does not realize that Momma doesn’t have a restaurant cash flow anymore, nor does the little medical billing I do from home ever measure up to what my income was. He doesn’t know that I been living off the money from the sale of the house. A part of me is cool with him being blind to the fact that my financial status has changed, because it means he believes in me. He knows my capabilities and he knows my work ethic, my grind and passion. I got a text from him as well, ” I need my tuition paid and a couple grand” oh ok I don’t hv it son, “but you were working the Essence events and you doing good, why you always playing, bruh.” Yes, my son calls me “Bruh” lol

My 27yr old daughter and I aren’t in a good place, because shes “not dating”, but she is dating a guy, who happens to be Black Israelite. They met in March, she has now changed her name and I’m pretending not to know anything, so she doesn’t cut me off again like she did a few months ago after I told her “it’s suspect that she met this man, this supposed to be prophet on Black People Meet ” I told her “it’s too fast to change up, at least just go to the bible study.” Now she wrapping her head, not getting her hair done something she loves, not eating her favorite food. For the first time I have decided to be quiet and hope this is a phase. Hope, she has a trigger to the incidents with her ex husband and the affects it had on our relationship.

Then there’s me I’m living off trust, living off prayers that were done on tired painful knees of my Momo, Big Momo and all my ancestors before them, prayers of my sister, Mom, family, friends and you. I had a very good life, money was plentiful, I could disseapear in my own house, sit by the fire pit and send smoke singals to the spirits, I could travel when I pleased, I had my picks of any man if the desire rose, I was good, ya hear me I was good.

I gave up, sacrificed plenty, even the comfort of being around my family when I decided to move back home to New Orleans. I gave up alot, I gave it up for my happiness, for my soul, for Me. I do not own a car, my bank account and credit cards actually have the zeros that have you afraid to check your account. I’m telling you all my story, telling you all this to tie into what happened after my EBONY Princess blessed me with her dreams for me.

My friend, a friendship that was formed by way of social media after a very horrible Facebook fight that almost stopped me from posting and blogging. My friend Diana sent me a text offering me financial blessing to assist me in continuing to build my brand #NolaChic #TheNolaChic #letmeshowyoumynola. As I read the text I was overwhelmed by just the thought of someone who doesn’t know me being so willing to donate money to me, believe in what I am doing so much so that she’s willing to spend her money on me. I was scared to reply, her words, thoughts and belief in my brand was more than enough. I didn’t have to respond, because she set me up, “I’m in your area, lets go eat at the Court of Two Sisters, meet me at this cute lil bar on Dumaine and Charters.” I had no choice to go, she drove to my part of town and she was a beautiful lady in a bar alone.

I got dressed and off to the Quarters I went to have an early dinner and drinks and this theme continued through the evening. We met a complete stranger in Felix’s Restaurant, it’s an old NOLA fave serving up the best raw oysters. Anyway, we met the most beautiful blond 50yr old vixen who was here on vacay and to get her daughter settled in this beautiful balcony penthouse apartment in the Quarters for college at Tulane. She had just came from a vacay in the South of France, this woman, now friend smelled and looked of money, plus she was just perfect inside and out, body, face and heart, but those legs on her omg. She & her husband are millionaires, we would find out, but she did not behave as if she even cared about money, she was just so nice and caring. My two friends spoke of me between themselves, like bragging on me, I was so honored. We keekeed and drank a lil more, and before she left she took my info to share with her husband so he can check me out as well. I can’t believe that she’s really following my blog and social media pages now!!

No sooner than she left Felix’s I get another text from another New friend, we are friends via social media as well. We met her and her husband at their hotel bar right off Bourbon Street. Another woman whose been reading my blogs and following me on social media!!! It’s unbelievable!We sat in the old bar, the Asbinth, which is said to be haunted. I’ll talk about that in another blog. My friend told me she was in the New Orleans, because of Me! She told me I renewed her love for New Orleans and she came! Not only did she bless me as the others did, she gave me priceless advice for my brand, she states this is only the beginning and she wants this beautiful life for me. She believes in my brand as well. When does that happen? When does a stranger reaches out to encourage, build up, support and invest in??? I have never experienced anything like this in my life.

I know a lot of you are surprised that these three white ladies reached out to me in this manner, reached out to me to bless me, to build me up, to encourage me, to support me, to pray for me and even invest in me. These white ladies read my blog! They took time not only to feed my body, but my mind and soul as well!!!.. They got me a lil tipsy too lol, but we are in New Orleans duh. Lol

I’m not surprised, well I’m surprised about the financial part, because you know people and their money, plus Im not no church or nonprofit person. They have to care deeply to choose to do these things for me. I’m not surprised about them reaching out to me, but in the magnitude in which they did, has blown me away. People treat their time like the money.

I have spoken and blogged several times on the fact that I want to be a bridge where necessary for New Orleanians, black, white, native and local. I want to close the race gap, stop the divide, it makes no sense. I want us to be there for each other, to be at least neighborly. We are all people like duhhhh, but hey let me know if your anything, but that. Let me know if you are in need of an organ or blood if we should send you to the veterinarian instead of the hospital.

I’m not sure if it took for me to move to Minnesota to be unafraid of ” white people” not sure if it’s, because I found out that I have white relatives or that my future grandkids will be biracial. I’m not sure if my sweet patient who was an old white lady with no kids, nieces or nephew’s treated me as her grandchild, feeding me when I came to care for her. Im not sure if it was my 6yr old autistic patient Wally who only spoke and called me Mommy may blind me to the fact that we are different in skin tone.

I know black, white, yellow and purple don’t matter, but I know it matters to others. Growing up in New Orleans, hearing and seeing my family and friends fear of going into Jefferson Parish. I was a little girl scared of white police, because I saw with my own eyes Jefferson Parish beat a man on the tracks in Kenner. We lived in areas of racial divide, but around the age of 10 both my Mom and Dad moved in areas where we were thr only black people. I remember wishing I had long curly red hair like the cool band dude. I would use whatever, a towel, a shirt and tie it around my head a swing it like hair and listen to Duran Duran. I wore Esprit and Benetton, and spoke like a New Orleans Black Valley Girl. I didn’t know race until race affect and hurt me.

We are people, we all are kept alive by our hearts, we all go through so many, well most of the same changes in this life of ours. We all know love and we all know the hurt that comes with loving. We all born into this world, we all have to cry to complete our entry, we all bleed red and we all will say good bye to this earth.

We all love New Orleans, right? To love New Orleans one can not be bais and love this part of the culture, but not that part, that’s not being authentic. To love New Orleans, you have to be able to identify the uniqueness of all that contribute to the culture. This one group that is a New Orleans culture group always judge and put down others ideas of what they feel is worthy New Orleans culture, but there’s those judges with their gavels stating what is and what is not New Orleans. Im pretty sure these people are not even from NOLA.

We all see what Katrina did to People and we all should want to come together to restore what was damaged and what is now being taken away from those who loss so much. We can patty cake around the issues, po pretend that its not true, go blind, but the most damage was done and still being done to the black community.

I love my culture and I share my love of New Orleans it by way of going out to expose all that we have here to the tourist, because they bring in the money that can help our communities. My goal is to get more natives and locals comfortable with doing more in the city too. You would be amazed how many natives have never rode the street car, been to the Latter Library or enjoy a nice weekend at the hotel they get a discount at. Why, do you think they di not enjoy the perks of living like a tourist??? Yeah, they can’t afford it, but things like the streetcar, they city official promotes it for the tourists, honestly everything is for the tourist now…

I go out into my community, because I love my people, all my people, I love New Orleanians. I love New Orleans and I should not feel like a stranger in my own city. I was born and raised here, but there are people who have moved in and telling me, telling us how we need to be in our city that we made, what should be done in our communities.

Our ancestors not only built the city well, but contributed to the rich culture of New Orleans. They did it so well, it’s a honor to be able to keep the torch lit. We are in charge, responsible and should feel dedicated to continuing the ways of those who sacrificed and suffered while building New Orleans. Our ancestors, be it the white side, black side, Indian side, of the family can not enjoy the fruit of their harvest and I know my family wants me to enjoy it for them which is why I’m home. People travel here for the people here, it’s the natives cooking, it’s the natives wooing tourist with southern hospitality, dancing with them on Bourbon St, it’s the workers making sure their rooms are clean and having conversations with them. Not the billionaire sitting in the tallest building looking down and over the city to see where else he can build his next money maker. Tourist nor locals who have moved here did not move here, after meeting Joe Black Billionaire, no they had an authentic New Orleans experience with a hardworking New Orleanian. If I’m wrong please let me know.???

My friends aren’t native New Orleanians, two do not live here, but they love New Orleans, so much they are willing to help me strengthen my voice, encourage my spirit and build me up in effort, so that I may be able to go out and be heard, heard by other NOLA Lovers who may be able to assist me in keeping our culture in tact. I’ll say this again, think about coming back next year New Orleans is a bowl of watery gumbo…

Oh, let me add this for the cracra, it’s ok to say white, black, she white, my black friend… like seriously the ones who make a deal over it are the ones using the racist words. So, yes Nola Chic has black friends, white friends, Indian friends, Somali friends, Hispanic, light skinned friends dark skinned friends, gay friends & all kinds of friends! The only kind friends I don’t have are ignorant jealous mean negative friends.

The NOLA Chic

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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