After feeling overwhelmed by another flood and power outage here in New Orleans, I decided to write to calm my nerves, and this came out. It seems to be a combination of memoir and fiction. It flowed out this way, and I tried to change it, but I could stop my thoughts from flipping on me. Let me know what you think.
It’s sad that with all the challenges we have to overcome daily in our lives, we have to worry about the preventable dangers that lurk in places like our government. Acts of nature are one thing; it’s unpredictable as it has a mind of her own, but… Acts of people in position, trusted officials and authorities seem not to work their roles to care for the citizens they are paid to look after. Politicians are like soldiers, mothers, caretakers, and the list goes on. They are the forefront, the line of defense, and our voices…Well, they supposed to be…
Since Hurricane Katrina and the takeover of land in New Orleans, the people who sacrifice to stay in their hometown are being drowned out without the use of water. We are drowned in the floodwaters of unaffordable housing, insufficient pay, disregard and manipulation, and in spite of how they are treated, they keep on smiling and overcoming. And selfish Big Time Businessman, leaders and wealthy transplants refuse to give us a piece of the very pie we made. They deny us of refuge and safety because they want to see us drown, go away and never to return. We have heard the racist saying, ”Go back to Africa.” well the working poor of New Orleans who know nothing other than Nola are told, ”Leave, we don’t care where you go. And if you don’t move fast enough, we will evict your butt out of here.
The people of Nola are the true heirs of New Orleans, but we have been robbed of our inheritance. People from all over the world seem to come here in the guise of ”Helping and Volunteering” only to find their way into the lives of New Orleanians to get a free tip on how to use and take all that Nola embodies. And we the children of Nola are so gullible, trusting, and hospitable that we bring them right to where X marks the spot. Once the treasure was found, they are a ghost, and we are applying for food stamps.
They come with their slick pimp sweet whispers of hope and betterment for the children of Nola. They seduce the city, our motherland, Nola, and she opens her heart and soul, giving them the key to her, the city of New Orleans… Nola only gave freely, because she wants the best for her children (New Orleanians) and they came dangling good living, a life we needed for years. She was impressed by the wealth and security that they could provide and all she could think of was how good this would be for her children, the people of the city.
Things were great in the beginning; she was happy, and so were the children. Then one day she was invited onboard their yacht for an evening ride, she was thrilled. Never going past the waters that touched the slimy levee steps of Lake Ponchatrain she boarded the boat. She ate the best food, the shrimp were bigger than her hand, the oysters were plump salty and juicy, and for the first time, she drank from an expensive bottle of champagne. All she knew was the corner store seafood and Martini Rossi, yes this is the life Nola needed and wanted. The bubbles tickled her nose as the sweet wet champagne danced on her tongue, and then there was an after taste. Thinking it was her inexperienced palate, she continues to drink it. The motion of the boat seems to affect her. She felt hot and sleepy and asked Mr. Airbnb for a glass of water and to open a window. Nola’s request was granted, but she didn’t feel the hot thick lake air nor the coolness of her body hit the water. All she had on her mind was that this an excellent opportunity was for her children. They watched as her drugged body sank into Lake Pontchartrain and zoomed off when they saw a small boat with fishing poles sticking out from the deck. Back at the shore, they were met by Mr. Real Estate Tycoon, and a few other cultural thieves who were going through the city unearthing unearth her hidden treasures, her legacies that she left for her children. And the others stole important documents from the pocketbook and information from her phone.
When she awakened, she was surrounded by her children, New Orleanians who pulled her lifeless body out of Lake Pontchartrain. She was lying on the same slimy algae-covered lake steps that she never went past her. Not wanting to be vengeful, but overwhelmed with shame, she refused to go to the hospital or police, so she went home only to get dealt another blow. Her fertile soil was overturned, the roots of her family tree exposed and her treasure of heirlooms was gone. Knowing this was the doing of her new inhabitants; she lets out a broken-hearted moan as she collapses unto the exposed soil. The world as she knew it crumbled right before her eyes. She’s been taken advantage of, mislead and robbed by the very people she entrusted with her family tradition, her culture and the future generations… She looked up at her children with tears falling from her eyes, she did not know what to say, so she cried.
As she wept, the sky let out a loud snap and crumble, and the ground shook swallowing up the areas that were dug up by the cultural thieves. The children held back their tears out of fear of added to the flood of tears coming from their mother, Nola. Seeing her like that was the worse pain they have felt, but they knew there was no time to mourn. They carried her weak body to her special place, a healing room to let her body, mind, and heart heal. They carefully tended to her, loved on her until she recovered from the wounds of the heart.
New Orleans was drowning because of those who never loved her in the first place. They sat and waited for the day the levees would break, knowing the exact neighborhoods the storm would engulf. These wealthy thieves came in and took over; some decided to plant themselves in her womb without consent. While safe within the belly of Nola, thriving off her blood, they pulled her children from her bosom and latched on themselves drinking her milk and eating the honey of the land. Evicting Nola’s children from their Motherland would be their demise. The waters do not discriminate, nor take bribes as if they fill up the streets and seeps into their fancy homes. All they knew was how to mimic the people of New Orleans, but gone were the people who would jump in to save you. But you chased away the resilient souls, the heartbeat of Nola so you for profiting off our cultural. Nola has expelled you from her womb; you didn’t belong there in the first place; your heart wasn’t in it. As you wade in the rat and trash infested water is when you realize the error in your ways. You shout through the neighborhood, knock on doors seeking a New Orleanian after realizing your money is worthless, and your full proof evacuation plan is floating with the rest of the trash. Your wealth can not help you know, and you do not have the Nola mindset to make it in New Orleans. If only you wouldn’t have stolen. There’s the faint sound of horns in the distance, and you fill hopeful.
It was Nola and her children. The door of her healing room flew open, and she emerged refreshed and revived; the waters that were meant to drown her baptized her. Nola and her children took to the streets in full form and solidarity. They second-lined down the streets of her city, shouting “New Orleans is drowning, but you can not kill our spirit. We are New Orleans!” The Big Shot Businessman, wealthy transplants, and Political Powers may be able to steal and profit from our culture, but they can not kill the soul of New Orleans. We are New Orleans, and she lives within us. New Orleans is drowning, but not our spirit.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼