Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Support New Orleans
I just returned from New Orleans. I'd never been to this city and I'm certainly going back! After New Orleans, I believe I'd seen the trifecta of Eurpean colonies in America. New England has its British roots, Southern California has its Spanish roots. Well, New Orleans gave me the point of view of our French Colonizers. Mon Dieu! I learned alot. There's a lot of history in New Orleans: the first colonists were the unwanted of France--thieves, murderers and whores. The French seemd to be the most civil with their slaves--if you want to call owning slaves civil--but the Noire Code, forbid the beating and killing of slaves. In addition, Slaves were allowed to have second jobs in order to buy their own freedom, leading up to Louisiana having the largest number of wealthiest blacks in the South. African Americans were allowed to assemble, which led to the birth of jazz.
Of course we know New Orleans had seen some tough times. Katrina had devasted the city, something the city hadn't quite recovered from. The oil spill in the Gulf threatens wildlife and fishing in the area. This is why anyone reading this blog should flock to New Orleans and support its residents. They desperatly need the commerce.
What I loved about the New Orleans is that it so supports its artists. Buying local art is tax free. There is an array of literary festivals worth attending: the Tennessee Williams Festival, the William Faulkner fest, and Saints and Sinners, the LGBT lit fest.
I was there for the Saints and Sinners conference, a place to talk about writing and develop our skills. I went to accept the James Duggins Award for mid-career artists. This is me with fellow winner Lee Lynch. I dressed as a jass musician to honor the city.
On Sunday morning, the day before I was supposed to leave, it rained. It was quite lovely.