mojosmom: (katrina)

We're home!
Originally uploaded by mojosmom.

There are different kinds of strength. The obvious one is physical. But there is also emotional strength, and that's what this photo symbolizes for me. I took it while visiting New Orleans for the first Jazz Fest after Katrina.

mojosmom: (katrina)
And the rains stayed away! Guess Mother Nature didn't want to mess with a bunch of Katrina survivors. Last night's concert was by the New Orleans Social Club (and friends). These musicians came together on an ad hoc basis shortly after Hurricane Katrina to record the CD, "Sing Me Back Home". Two years later, they are still in demand for concerts. They were joined last night by the Hot 8 Brass Band, Irma Thomas, John Boutté, and, from Chicago, The Legendary Koko Taylor and the Mucca Pazza Marching Band. The event was sponsored by the City of Chicago, along with Sweet Home New Orleans, Operation Playground and Habitat for Humanity.

The crowd was sparser than I'd have expected, though. I guess the dark clouds to the west, along with the pessimistic weather reports, kept some folks away. But plenty of people did come, and a lot of them brought umbrellas, which comes in handy when you get the urge to second line*! And they sure did get the urge:
Chicagoans can second line, too!

Now, I have to say that you haven't lived until you've had the Queen of Soul (Thomas) and the Queen of the Blues (Taylor) on the same stage at the same time, knocking it out. This had to be one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time. The music was outstanding, the energy levels were high (pre-concert announcement: "Please keep the aisles clear. If you feel the urge to dance, please dance in your seat or at the open space at the back of the seating area"), and everyone was there because we love New Orleans! When Koko Taylor sang "Pitch a Wang-Dang-Doodle (All Night Long)", well, I think everyone was ready to do just that.

* It occurs to me that some may not be familiar with the term "second line". It means the funky walking/dancing part of a parade just behind the band, and waving handkerchiefs and twirling colorful umbrellas is standard. The tradition comes from jazz funerals, where the first line took the cortège to the cemetery with sad and mournful tunes, and the music became joyful and spirited on the way back, followed by dancing second-liners.
mojosmom: (katrina)
Behind a cut because it's loooooong! )
mojosmom: (katrina)
From today's Chicago Trib article about employees of Antoine's, dispersed by Katrina:

John Hoffmann Jr. doesn't know it, but back in Chalmette, La., there's a notice from a government inspector taped to the green front door of his home, which was about the only spot the inspector could have affixed it, because there is no longer an actual home standing behind the door.

"I visited your residence today to perform an inspection for the application you made with FEMA for disaster assistance," reads the form letter left by the inspector for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who, to post it, had to walk through the rubble and twisted metal strewn in front of the charred carcass of the strip mall where Hoffmann's apartment used to be.

"Since you were not there," the letter says, "I was unable to complete the inspection. Your application for housing assistance . . . cannot be processed until the inspection is completed."

The three-paragraph notice informs Hoffmann that he must call the inspector to arrange an appointment. But the part where the inspector's name and phone number are supposed to be filled in has been left blank.

Not that it really matters. Hoffmann has only a few hundred dollars in the bank and no way to get from his camper in the woods in Bentley, La., back to Chalmette to see the letter taped to his door. And even if he could make it back, Hoffmann couldn't read the Kafkaesque notice anyway. He is learning-disabled, an 8th-grade dropout and illiterate.
mojosmom: (Default)
I've been remiss. So here goes.

Last Sunday evening, I went over to see Redmoon Theater's latest production, Loves Me . . . Loves Me Not, which was playing in the lagoon behind the Museum of Science and Industry. Yes, you read that right, in the lagoon. The audience sat on the steps of the Museum. The sets, representing a flooded house and gas station had been sunk in the lagoon, and actors moved about in a variety of boats, both prosaic and fantastical. How do you produce a spectacle about a flood in the wake of Katrina? )

This past week, I've been coaching at the University of Chicago's Mandel Legal Clinic Intensive Trial Advocacy Program. It's designed for law students entering their third year, who will be participating in various clinical programs. I enjoy teaching trial advocacy, and this is always a bright, enthusiastic and hard-working bunch. Plus, it's an opportunity to see some folks I don't normally get to see (the folks who run the program tend to bring in the same group of coaches). The last day (at least for faculty) was Thursday, when the students do a closing argument. One girl in my group came in and told nme she wasn't very well-prepared. When I asked her why, she said that most of her family was in the path of Hurricane Rita, and she had spent most of the morning on the phone with family as they tried to work out an evacuation plan for her grandmother. I told my fellow coach that we were going to cut her some slack! As it turned out, she didn't need it. Whether it was because she had been worrying about something else, I don't know, but she was the best of the group, a natural story-teller.

A new term at Casa Italiana, and we have a new instructor and a couple of new students in our class, as well as a new textbook. Elio (the instructor) seems good, so we'll see.

Wednesday was the first play of the Goodman Theatre season, the musical Purlie, based on Ossie Davies' Purlie Victorious. At thirty-five years old, it is, of course, a bit dated, but despite that, it was excellent. Some marvelous voices!

I had hoped to go to a couple of World Music Festival events Thursday night, but I had come down with a nasty summer cold. When I left the law school that day, all I wanted was to go to bed with a box of Kleenex™. So I did, and felt a tad better on Friday, and much better yesterday.

And it was good I was better yesterday, because I had Nina and Randy's wedding to go to. It was lovely (aren't they always?). Nina looked absolutely stunning, with her hair up, and a simple, elegant gown, a sleeveless a-line, not too much beading and a small train. The bridesmaids' dresses were navy-blue, in a rich, heavy satin, not identical, but each in a style that was suited to the individual's age, size and shape. The reception was fun, good food, decent enough music, though I left early-ish because I didn't want to push my luck and relapse, especially since I'm going up to Fran's later today.

I talked to Stacey the other day. She was getting ready to head to Washington for the anti-war demo, and tells me she is planning to run for precinct committeeman! We talked about going to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival next year, whenever and wherever (they may do it in Baton Rouge or Lafayette).

I think that's about it!
mojosmom: (katrina)
I've been meaning to post this here for a while, so I'll be able to get to it. It was posted on one of my legal listservs. The woman who wrote it is a lawyer with the Louisiana Department of Social Services and was assigned to work at the Superdome.

It's really long, but worth reading.

Katrina and Me, by Sherry Watters )
mojosmom: (katrina)
Billie Holiday, by Herman Leonard hangs on my living room wall.

Thousands of famed photos ruined )
mojosmom: (katrina)
I'm so sad. Ever since I first visited New Orleans, many years ago, it has been one of my favorite cities, ever, anywhere in the world. The history, the architecture, the people, the food, the music, the joie de vivre and laissez les bons temps roulez, it's always made me happy. And now it's gone. Oh, I know that much will be rebuilt, and I know I'll visit her again. But what will have happened to so many places I've known and loved? One of my favorite little museums, The Backstreet Cultural Museum, was in Treme, a section that had water to the rooftops, and it was a shoestring operation to begin with. I understand the Marigny is underwater, where one of my favorite bookshops is and where I stayed the first time I went to the Jazz and Heritage Festival. Will there even be a Jazz and Heritage Festival next year? Well, if there is, I'm going, if it's at all possible. I consider it my civic duty to get whatever tourist dollars I can back to the City That Care Forgot. (Just like I went to NYC a few months after 9/11.) I watch the news, and it hurts so bad.

(NOTE: the userpic was created by Natasha17 at BookCrossing.)
mojosmom: (katrina)
Received the following message on one of my listservs:

"i was in new orleans from sat - sun . . . my 8/29 sentencing in gulfport where i was to drive to on sun was, of course, cancelled - my local counsel just emailed me and told me his entire office was destroyed - my drive from downtown new orleansto the airport took 6 hours - bumper to bumper evacuation traffic - drive is typically 25 minutes - i got the last seat on the last flight out before the airport shut dowm . . . p.s. i had just moved to san francisco in aug '89 when the loma pietra earthquake struck in oct; at the mcc [Metropolitan Correctional Center] n.y. 1/2 mile from ground zero on 9/11 and in israel when the iraqis in the little remembered 2d gulf crisis were threatening to bomb with poison gas warhead scuds - note to all listmates :don't travel with me - alan"

June 2017

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