Monday, January 01, 2007



Best wishes, all for a happy and healthy 2007.

We spent our eve at the Mid-City bonfires--one of those very "local" events that makes one happy, happy, happy, to be back in New Orleans. Families and friends pile their Christmas trees on the neutral ground of Orleans Avenue, and at midnight the trees are lit, for a spectacular bonfire. Everyone's shooting off fireworks (perhaps dangerously, yes), and a few folks get naked and run rings around the fire. It's not a city-sanctioned event, but the cops and the fire department are there. Last night I watched one cop wait in his car for someone's firecrackers to go off before he drove on. It just feels so good to have the powers that be actually there to protect you... rare. We all glowed and drank champagne and rang in the New Year happily.

Today we drove down to Holy Cross for the umpteenth time. What we love most about the neighborhood is its access to the river. All this time we've lived in the Bywater/Marigny, we've lived just blocks from the river, but we've never been able to see it unless we drive into the Quarter--massive concrete "locks" block us from the view and from access to the space. In Holy Cross, there's a beautiful footpath and benches along the river, and a spectacular view of the city. Yesterday we saw our first sunset there. I hope there will be many more.
Tomorrow we meet with the Preservation Resource Center to discuss 717 Deslonde, the home we may (we hope) buy. If I've not mentioned the PRC's work before: their Operation Comeback program is designed to revive historic homes in historic neighborhoods.
717 Deslonde was slated for demolition. It's been in the same family for the past 85 years, and before the storm, two sisters lived there--the daughters of German immigrants. The house really feels wonderful--like it's been loved--and there's a big yard, to boot. While our primary reason for moving out of the Marigny-Bywater is being unable to afford the area, we are excited, too, about the larger land parcels. The neighborhood has a long way to go--as most of the city does--in terms of recovery, but we are hopeful.

Yesterday I read the post of a blogger who is also entertaining the idea of moving to Holy Cross. She wrote that friends cautioned her against that move because of the crime. Having spent many days in the area, and having driven there at night, I don't have the sense of its being a crime-ridden area, at all, but because it is part of the Lower Ninth Ward, it seems that most people assume the worst of it, as they do all of the Lower Ninth.

But when I am in Holy Cross, I feel like I am in an actual neighborhood--a place where people live in their homes for a long time, where they have families and lives, as opposed to a place like the Bywater-Marigny, where so many of us are simply "stopping" for a while. In our neighborhood, everyone seems young and in transition--or they are real estate investors who own property upon property and rent them out. I look forward to feeling at home in Holy Cross. Now, if we could only be sure that they'd close the MR-GO (I'll write about the research I've done into the nature of the flooding in Holy Cross soon. Right now I've got to make black-eyed peas and greens for good luck.)

Here's to a productive new year--and one that finds us all at home, wherever we are.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Buy the house, you will not regret it

Laureen said...

Sarah, I am so happy to know you are going to be the new owner of that adorable shotgun in Holy Cross. I am part of the Squandered Heritage team and I can tell you that things in Holy Cross are very peaceful these days and stable. We are also keeping an ear to the ground regarding what will happen to Holy Cross school when they move because that could have a big impact on the area. Jackson Barracks is a great asset to the community as well. There's also the Steamboat houses, there's a good stock of solid, charming, historically significant architecture. We can't wait to read more as the renovation continues.
Happy New Year, indeed.