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Slippin… “I gots to get up. Get me back on my feet so I can tell y’all bout this girl named Nola.”

I have always been real with y’all since my Nola Chic persona was created, living my life like an open window. I love New Orleans and everything that has come from her womb. In all honesty, being home has proved good for my soul, but it came with a pretty hefty price tag.

 This shit looks glamorous and entertaining, but it wasn’t long before I hit rock bottom all for the love of Nola and writing.  I wish I could say bottom came from partying, stunting and showing off. You living the lavish life, but Nah… Lil Checks came in through the front door and out the back door into the pockets of Mr. Bill Man. All I had saved up to live off for seven years lasted me all but two.

Writing, blogging or whatever you call it doesn’t come with the funds y’all think.  There are some perks but I can’t cash that shit in.. Writers, we write because we love to write. If you ever been passionate about your gift then you can understand or think about it like the way that special someone makes you feel. Writing satisfies my soul. If I smoked I would smoke a cigarette after I finished writing or reading something good.

Just as Nola tugged at my soul until I beckoned her call, the ability to write does the same even if it’s journaling for myself. I have been done some form of writing, expressing my thoughts on paper since I was a little girl. My Mama showed me a letter I wrote to her when I was six. How I see there can be no Me without it. 

Opening my book of life with y’all exposed me to a world I never thought I could be a part of. Not only did I not know what blogging or influencing was not even five years ago, but I didn’t know or believe that anyone would be interested in anything I had to say. I’ve had more published writers reaching out to me to assist me with being a better writer and publishing houses requesting that I read and write reviews on noteworthy authors. I have been asked to cover events and interview all sorts of people. I should be elated, I actually was, but antagonistic souls found their way into my mind.

It’s one thing being the underdog all by itself. You know you have to go hard in the paint, grind hard, take shorts, push through and prove yourself worthy of getting to the top. In the business, I’m in that meant doing events for free and taking a personal loss. It’s almost like buying your way in with your talent. 

What really pulled me to the bottom is finding out that the industry can be more cutthroat than the streets of New Orleans. I found myself being afraid to cover stories out of fear of the celebrity. I actually received an email from a Nola celeb after writing an article actually in support of them and this person seems to think I wrote it to heighten my rates. As if. Sadly, there are some celebrities who will attack you for covering a story on them, because they believe it would help you (the writer or journalist) I guess get on their level. I have heard celebrities use the term click baiter and riding my coattails when speaking on a news journalist and bloggers. That right there turned me off from the industry alone. Everyone knows that in order for anyone to arrive at a level of great achievement one must be able to capture the audience. We all would be ”Unknown” if this was the case.

I learned that people outside of word critics could wound the heart. As I said it all looks glamorous, but it’s not as enchanting as it seems. The wicked witch is waiting with her poisoned apple. I’m nothing but an Urban Cinderella who gets to go to the ball but must return before the clock strikes twelve or else I’ll be standing there in my Nola Chic T-shirt, Reeboks and headscarf.

Life just happened, the realization that New Orleans is being milked for all that she is, all that my ancestors labored for is up for sale just as if the culture was on the slave trade. The fight of living here has lost its passion. Just about everyone working in areas for the people of New Orleans aren’t from New Orleans. Some of the newcomers do not feel the heartbeat or in tune to the vibrate soul of New Orleans which is why we have an orange couch to celebrate some show based in New York… It’s depressing to live here and see how things are going, which is another reason I haven’t succumb to working for the man, nursing license and all. I desire to be my own boss, work for me and tell the stories of the people of New Orleans. s blood, sweat, tears, and dollars will be poured into my community. I just knew my life here would mirror how my Mama and Momo lived. I just knew sending my daughter to school would stir up old memories of my younger years loving teachers, field trips, debutant balls, marching in parades and so on. The charter schools like the city are filled with people who have No inkling on what it means to be a New Orleanian. As much as our children need teachers who know how to read we need teachers who can relate to the students and their families.

And I’m not speaking about color, but culture. White or black if they from New Orleans they understand and respect our core values. It can be something small as saying hello, a smile or a firm voice that can make a difference in New Orleans. We cut from a different cloth than the rest of the world.

I knew moving back meant giving up the luxuries I became accustomed to up North, but struggling, sacrifice and surviving the storm is my blood. Returning meant slipping falling on my ass to the bottom, rock bottom. While I was down there I decided to use that time to see how I got there and how I would get up out of there.

In the darkness of rich soil I where I needed to be. I was laid out in the soil face first like a seed. I felt the cool soft earth in my hands, in between my fingers and toes. It felt so good to be there that I stayed for a while, actually I stayed too long. As I tried to get back up I felt people throwing the dirt I threw out to make room for the new me back on top of me. At that point, I decided I couldn’t get back up. I’m still down, but I’m on my knees, praying.

I’m tired, but I dug myself halfway out. I can feel the sun on my face, my arms are free to rise to the heavens above. Some days I don’t have the motivation to dig, well write. I find myself slipping into the old mindset that I gave up too much for New Orleans. I tell myself it would be much easier to return to the safety and security of the North. I can easily go back to work at any hospital or medical facility of my choice, but that would mean putting down my pen. It’s when I drift back into this stinking thinking, fall deeper into my black hole is when I see your hand reaching down to help me up.

Y’all leave me NO choice but to ”I gots to get up. Get me back on my feet so I can tell y’all bout this girl named Nola.” in my DMX voice… Happy days are on its way!

Thank you for having my back. ⚜️

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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