Friday, September 08, 2006

Trip to NOLA

Lots of ground covered since my last post.

On the night of August 30 I picked up my friend Steve at Austin Bergstrom airport. The first item of business on Thursday morning was a our usual trip to Hippie Hollow. Then after a nap in the afternoon we left Austin and drove to La Marque to spend the night at Steve's friend Cheryl's house.

Cheryl was a moderately successful artist in New York until her health forced her to return to her family home in La Marque. She was a great hostess and we enjoyed our visit with her. The next morning we were on our way east, crossing on the ferry in Galveston. We stopped in Crystal Beach for a couple of hours and had a dip in the Gulf, then headed on to New Orleans, arriving about 10:30 that night.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the spirit in New Orleans was very positive and upbeat. The area of town we stayed in, the Irish Channel between Magazine Street and the river, was jumping....lots of people out, shops, residents, coffee houses all alive with activity. We stayed in an ancient loft with a fellow named Jules who makes his living building Mardi Gras floats.

Saturday morning Steve and I had breakfast at Slim Goodies restaurant. I had the "Jewish Coonass", a potato latke with spinach, a fried egg, and topped with delicious crawfish etoufee'.
We then walked up Magazine to walk around my old neighborhood around the corner of Leontine and Perrier Streets.

That night Steve and his friends from World War Three Illustrated in New York presented a multi-media show, with slides of the artists' work which was inspired by the efforts of Common Ground Collective. This organization, started by Malik Rahim, an ex-Black Panther, has provided many needed services to the people of the Ninth Ward, including health clinics, home restoration, legal clinic, food and clothing distribution, and help with job searches. All this with only volunteer labor and donations, no help from the government as far as I know. The show was supposed to be a fund-raiser for the Collective, but it was not publicized very well, so the turnout was disappointing. The show was great, however, and much appreciated by the people who did attend. It was held at the Ashe' Cultural Arts Center.

Sunday morning we dropped one of the artists off at the airport and headed back to Austin, stopping briefly in Baton Rouge to say hello to my nieces. We also stopped in Beaumont on the way back to have dinner with my old friend Kata.

After resting Monday morning I took Steve back to the Austin Bergstrom and he went back to New York. After one day of work on Tuesday I had oral surgery on Wednesday and have spent the days since recuperating on my couch. Modern dentistry is a wonderful thing. Hope to be healed completely by next week end....want to be 100% for ACL Fest!


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