WARNING, WARNING, WARNING: This blog entry is going to be LONG (for me) and potentially extremely heartfelt!!!
New Orleans, Louisiana is a place that is close to my heart. I went to college in Louisiana – not in New Orleans – but in Shreveport, the northwest corner of Louisiana. Louisiana folks would say that Shreveport is more like Texas because of its close proximity to the Texas border and its location which is several hours away from New Orleans.
For me, however, Shreveport was a COMPLETELY different world after having grown up in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville is fairly liberal (don’t knock me too much for that comment!) when considering the rest of the South, so Shreveport seemed to me to be a bit more conservative than I was used to.
Shreveport served me my fair share of gumbo, jambalaya and strange Cajun culture.
I will never forget the time that I babysat for a teacher at the college and her boys had a pet alligator! The next time I babysat, the alligator’s head was perched on the mantel and shellaqued (sp?)!
After four years of being there, I had gone from being in complete shock to rather liking the different way of life in Louisiana, particularly in southern Louisiana – New Orleans and beyond.
When Katrina happened, I felt numb and helpless. It was painful to watch and know that some of friends’ lives were changing forever. I donated money and became a Red Cross volunteer as a result of Katrina. Also helped one family get back on their feet. I still hear from them every once in a while.
I went down to New Orleans in January after Katrina and this is what I saw:
Boats still attached to on-and-off ramps of the interstate, car “graveyards” (TONS of piled up cars) under overpasses and dilapidated homes with strange emergency markings spray painted on them. Not to mention PILES of trash like you would not believe…
So when I heard that the Parthenon was putting on a life-size exhibit of the devastating effects of Katrina, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.
By the way, the Parthenon is located in Nashville’s Centennial Park on West End, not too far from Downtown Nashville.
I generally don’t do the Patron thing, but did feel that this was something I wanted to do.
My friend Pamela Coyle and her husband Shaun Washburn moved up here after Katrina. Their house was in the 20% of New Orleans that did not flood.
Pam was part of the editorial staff at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and lived at the office for several days following Katrina, but then had to be evacuated after the waters had risen to flood their building as well.
I really had no idea what she went through until I attended this event.
Jim Amos, the Editor of the Times-Picayune was in attendance and talked about what the 240 staff members went through during the Hurricane and their quest to keep the Newspaper running during that trying time.
And here is Eddy Rosen, standing in front of some of the life size pictures of her destroyed home in New Orleans.
Pamela Coyle (left) and Lisa Fusilier discuss life after Katrina. You should see Lisa’s car – it is one of the most interestingly painted vehicles I have ever seen! Who knew?
Pam and me – wow am I glad this sweetie is here!
Wilton (left) and Shaun having a smoke after the exhibit. Wilton was actually going to N.O. the next day, despite Gustav being on the way!
So thanks for bearing with me through this extra long blog post. If you get a chance, please spend the $5 and get down to the Parthenon for an unforgettable experience!!! You will doing a good thing for the people of New Orleans!