Wednesday, November 07, 2007


So I'm back in Philly. Every time I travel, I hope that it will itch something inside that keeps wanting to travel, that it will make me appreciate coming back here to my "home" more, that I will have a deeper understanding of why I stay here. Instead, almost every time I go to another city I can't help but feel like I need to get outta Dodge as soon as I can. Luckily the past year has provided me with ample opportunity to do just that. From May of this year until the end of the December, I will have spent as much time in other places as I've spent here - about three and a half months. And every time I visit someplace new, I'm filled with an almost maniacal urge to cut off all ties with Philly and move there.

And yet, here I am.

New Orleans was a fantastic trip. I can't say enough great things about the city and about the people I met there. It was educational, sad, fun, busy, anger-inducing and calming all at the same time. KDHL and all her friends were amazing, and I could totally see myself there sometime in the future helping them in their myriad worthy causes. It's an incredible time for activists in that city right now because there are so many opportunities to make such a huge difference. As I've heard someone say, the country doesn't need more activists in San Francisco right now - as far as I can tell, New Orleans needs them as bad as anyone.

KDHL tells me that she only knows one person there who meant to move there. Everyone else went there for a visit or an extended stay and now they live there full time and must be getting paid by the city to recruit their friends. Believe me when I say they're doing a good job of that. When one girl I met was leaving, she asked me if I lived there. When I said no, she simply said, "Hm. Too bad. Bye!" That got a lot of knowing laughs from people around me.

Here was the daily breakdown -
Thursday - Got in in the evening and went to KDHL's house to help her move some shit. Laid low as best we could.

Friday - Went to Tulane and marveled at the splendor that is uptown. Giant mansions and stodgy white people galore. These areas were not flooded in the storm. Ate at a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant. Rode back through some neighborhoods that were somewhat affected. Saw the Constance Street Garden which KDHL has been working hard on. Met up with some of KDHL's friends at a sweet dive bar and got a little drunk. Went out into the French Quarter with the intention of making it to Frenchman Street to hear some music and get more drunk, but only got as far as "dinner" (at midnight), and then walked back through Bourbon Street. Could not stop lolzing at how ridiculous and low humans can be.

Saturday - Did a bunch of cleaning around the apartment and went to get daiquiris and visit the 7th and 9th wards, where KDHL used to work and volunteer. There is still so much devastation here that it was all I could do to get out an "oh my god" every 5 minutes. So many lives were ruined, so many people died and were hurt, so many people lost everything two years ago, and all the government can do is put levees back up that are the .same.fucking.strength. as they were before. Oh, and levees, in case you were wondering, are 12 foot high concrete walls that are _maybe_ a foot wide. They are less than 100 yards from the fields where houses used to be, where people used to live. Got a serious load of newfound respek for how fucking hard it is for these people, both those who live there and those who have come to help. I cannot even imagine doing that, and my admiration for everyone involved in the rebuilding effort will never cease.

After that, went to City Park, which was very nice and beautiful and huge. Then we went back to KDHL's house for more cleaning (I kicked the bathroom's ass) and then our 4 hour affair with red beans and rice. Didn't come out that great, but word on the street is that KDHL put some olive oil and cheese in there the other night and it was much better. So there's that. Then went out to Frenchman Street, got pretty drunk, judged peoples' clothes, got jawed at by some crazy woman, almost forgot our bikes, got kicked off the river walk, and fell asleep quite drunk. Took ridiculous pictures.

Sunday - Went out to brunch uptown, then took the afternoon to go to Lake Pontchartrain, which is really quite large (40 miles east-west, 24 miles north-south) and beautiful. It became clear at this point that NOLA had had the best weather in the history of the universe since I came down - 70s during the day, not a single cloud the whole weekend, and just a little chilly at night. That night we went to Hare Krishna dinner, which was incredible, and then spent the night playing Scrabble (homemade board and tiles!) at the coffee shop. Called it an early night and went to bed.

Monday - Got up pretty early and went to the riverwalk again, and this time didn't get kicked off. Had to hold back KDHL from jumping on a passing freight train. Went back to the Garden District and walked around the neighborhood. Saw the long-rumored girlfriend of one neighborhood douchebag. Got on the plane and came back to Philly.

I guess a more succinct way of saying all this would just be: I had a really fantastic time and can't wait to go back.


At 3:06 PM, Blogger KDHL said...

Neighborhood douchebag indeed! I can't believe she is so awesome and dating someone that hates the homeless and the mentally ill and former inmates. Jerk off.

Anywayz, my fav part of your visit was when that dude on Bourbon St punched my purse after I told him to get the fuck out of the way so then you fought him. That was great.

PS That huge ladder in my kitchen almost fell on me today when I was moving it to stop the smoke alarm from beeping. Once I got up there I couldn't figure out how to change the battery so I just ripped the wires out. No more chirping noise, hooray!


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