Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 4: Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things started off the same as yesterday, but this time we were on time! We’ve figured out our routines now, the streetcar, traveling with 13 women…and wouldn’t you know we even had a minute to grab some much needed coffee on the campus of Tulane University! By the very enthusiastic suggestion of Crystal, we picked up a King Cake to share from PJ’s coffee shop on campus . Do you know what King Cake is? Well it’s this amazing tradition that usually begins at the start of the Mardi Gras season. When in New Orleans…

Today we viewed another documentary film that was presented to us by Assistant Producer Rebecca Snedeker: Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans by Dawn Logsdon and Lolis Eric Elie. The film revealed the history of the first free black community in the United States. This neighborhood was the cultural center that began a civil rights movement that took place 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. Sadly this community was near one of the biggest breaches of the levee following Katrina and was devastated. Many of the community members have not been able to return to the city and those who have been able to rebuild have found that the spirit of the neighborhood has also evacuated. The neighborhood’s epicenter, Congo Square, has been locked up, inaccessible to its rightful owners until very very recently.

This film inspired many of us to reconsider our research topics, to be taken in a direction that explores race-related issues of the city. Even some of us felt that it would be important to explore the personal recovery stories of member within the black community of New Orleans. Our levees broke today as we grasped the enormity of Katrina. We followed individuals through the film dancing in the streets of the 6th Ward with spirit in the eyes and pride in their voices. Children were dancing across the screen emerged in the traditions of their ancestors, but the that spirit was flooded after the Storm. We greatly, now more than ever, truly appreciate how Rebecca has shared her own experiences with us and has welcomed us into her city. We want to thank all of the members from the Newcomb Center for the Research on Women we have meet that have opened up their lives and have inspired us to love the city of New Orleans.

After seriously contemplating the affects Katrina had on its citizens we had the free time to approach our paper topics by pursuing resources or further discovering the beauty of New Orleans. Our independent nature that has been coming through in recent days is proof of how comfortable we are getting with the city. Streetcars are no longer a mystery and even strangers are no longer strangers as we come to recognize a familiar face. We have been told that if you love the city you are a New Orleanian, and I think we are all coming to learn the pride that comes along with that title.

It was a tough day to say the least but a much-needed experience to understand our core purpose of traveling to New Orleans. The people are what make this city so special and locals have expressed the protection they have over its spirit. We are quickly understanding how we must learn from them and appreciate their pride, we are even starting to adapt that sense of belonging in this city because we are immersed in their lives now, forever.

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