Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 16: Monday, January 26, 2009

Our last full day in NOLA began with Mr. Ken picking us up to take us to Deanne Aimee and her partner Jean’s house. Deanne has been an RN for 50 years and has been an ordained interfaith minister since 1987. We were welcomed into their space by their puppy Molly, and offered coffee and our sixth King Cake. After finishing a delicious breakfast, we retreated into Deanne’s sanctuary which includes relics from all different religions.

After living in the same room for two weeks, it’s no surprise that 12 women would encounter some tension. Deanne reminded us that tension is vital to life and opens up creative streams of expression. Like most of our trip, we found ourselves at the right place at the right time. Deanne helped us work through some of our conflict and helped us see that our minor problems mirror the larger problems going on in New Orleans right now.

We finished our time with Deanne by writing our dreams, wishes, fears and nightmares on paper and dropping them through her giant dream catcher. We used our last five minutes to drum, which Deanne explained is a powerful healing and centering exercise. Drumming is also a great way to release anger and anxiety. We are so blessed to have met Deanne and to be welcomed into her sanctuary.

We had some free time before dinner for everyone to finish souvenir shopping and visiting their favorite locations one last time. Cynthia instructed us to meet at the Gumbo Shop at 6:30 for the final New Orleans supper, and to be dressed in “NOLA fabulous” threads. Everyone showed up wearing their favorite new shirt, boas, Mardi Gras beads and masks.

At dinner we passed around “the heart of New Orleans,” a small, porcelain heart that Cynthia purchased so that we could take a piece of NOLA with us. She asked us each to say what gifts the city has given us, giving us a chance to reflect on our collective experiences.
For our last night in the city, we had an interview with Glen David Andrews and Paul Sanchez at d.b.a. on Frenchman. They spoke about the importance of traditional music in New Orleans pre and post- Katrina. They happily took pictures with us and signed CDs. Glen’s show was high-energy and exhausting. Eight of us made it to the end of his second set, and dragged our feet home tired but happy to have spent our last night with each other enjoying some fabulous New Orleans jazz.

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