Saturday, July 07, 2007

Last night I called my mommy, who was eating pizza at a Pizza Hut in Lavonia, Georgia. Mom and Dad were on their way back from a family-baby visit in Columbia, SC. I think if Simon and I hold out much longer on procreatin', my mother may just forgo subtle hints and start a-beggin' for some grand babies. I'm all about it... in a way. I'm going to have one helluva time giving up wine for nine months. (Do I really HAVE to?)

I was calling Mom because, well, have felt like I Want My Mommy a lot these past two weeks. My online job continues to kick my butt. I did get a paycheck this week--one that announced my hourly pay to be $16-something. That is a) too high of an estimate given the amount of time the job requires, and b) still not enough for my efforts, even if it were the correct figure. All of my research and personal goals for summer have been put on hold. In the meantime, Simon has been putting up with my complaints and saving my life by washing all of the dishes. Yes, all of them. He is a good man. A great man.

I'd worked at trying to get ahead earlier this week so I could have all of the Fourth off, but I did end up having to put in a few hours on Wednesday morning.

It rained all day on the Fourth. First with summer downpours that made the power flicker, and then later in England-style spit. I made a huge batch of The Best Potato Salad Ever (I am perfectly willing to share my mother's recipe, BTW) and a creole tomato salad for the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association BBQ. Packed a cooler, some folding chairs, and a grill, and headed down to Vaughn's for a pre-BBQ drink with Jackie. Some bratty boys (who should by now be men, but who are stuck in a perpetual NOLAdolescence) were setting off mounds of those seemingly-pointless firecrackers that boys love so much--the ones that do nothing but explode eardrums. I was too sober to find it funny, so I left for Holy Cross.

The HCNA BBQ was uplifting, as ever. Common Ground provided the BBQ (which was late, so that all the sides were gone by the time the chicken was ready), the bayou-researching gang from Wisconsin provided the crab-boil, and we neighbors (look at me with my "we," already) provided the rest. Among the other attendees was a friend and colleague of mine who called it "the most racially integrated event I've been to in New Orleans" (one of the reasons we love Holy Cross), a boatload of kids (yay!), and a number of delegates from Indonesia and Thailand. I spoke to one man from Aceh province--as in the Aceh province nearly wiped away by the 2004 tsunami--whose translator explained his dismay. The delegates from Thailand and Indonesia had spent the past several days touring the city, and they were "appalled" by the US government's neglect of the city. Evidently they spoke with residents who had been forced out of the St. Bernard Housing Projects, and the delegates were so appalled that they decided to pen a letter to the Times-Pic. I've been keeping my eye out for that. I'll also post more about the group here from SE Asia once I've researched their project.

One of my favorite moments: I walked to the church to go to the restroom, and a family out dancing on their porch asked me to join them. They were doing a Tootsie-roll-ish line dance, and they all got a kick out of my catching on--especially on the get-down turn. Later, the little girls who I'd danced with ran up to me at the BBQ and latched onto my legs.

Me: "Y'all must've gotten a kick out've teasing me, huh?"

Daysha: "No. We like you! My dad says you're all right."

Later, when the food was gone and the fireworks began, we all gathered on the levee. One of the older men from the neighborhood association gave us the history on the event: "Before the storm, wasn't nothin' like this many people down here." I asked him why that was--why did he think there were so many people down here now?

"I don't know... It's exciting, I guess."

I couldn't tell if he thought it was a good or a bad thing that so many people were down in the Lower Nine for the Fourth. The group was very integrated--but most of us whiteys were with volunteer groups, and I think those of us who intend to stay... well, we all wonder how long their excitement will last.

I've been picking up on more of this sort of ambivalence about post-K interest in the 'hood. Simon said that one long-time resident told him, "Let's don't tell too many people about this, all right?"

But it's clear that what we do need are more residents, and with the Holy Cross school leaving, it appears it will be a long road to recovery.

Still, we are, in fact, excited as hell. Whoo-HOOOOO!!!! Holy Cross! We're NUMBER ONE!!!

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