Spirit of New Orleans

Hello there this your girl Darcy Neureiter reporting live from the stiffling humidity of the New Orleans twilight. As the hot Louisiana sun begins to fade my mind wanders to my experiences today and the people I have met. Not only can i feel a certain spirit moving in myself but i also have found light in the people around me. New Orleans. These words hold both truth, tragedy, strength and adversity. Some people make the naive assumption that the spirit of New Orleans was broken. But in reality the vibrant ever beating drum of the city never ceased. Katrina has become part of the New Orleans identity. But not from it broken roofs and eerie flood lines on the insides of buildings. It is the ability of the people of New Orleans to find hope in the utter darkness and faith in their community. Today my workgroup worked on a house belonging to the daughter of Professor Longhair, a locally famous and talented musician. His daughter Patricia, a middle aged black woman with stories etched into her face came around the back of the house and was quickly surrounded by all the volunteers in they house. Her stories were not only compelling but incredibly animated. My workgroup listened in a silent awe as she brought the house alive around us. She moved her weathered hands pointing to the imaginary stove refrogerstor and cabinets. She waved her hand in the direction of the room to her right and spoke of dead mother who died before hurricane Katrina. She said that construction workers still smelled the haunting aroma of her mothers cologne from time to time. She talked about the spirit of her father watching over the house. Patricia’s father always told her never to fall asleep with a cigarette however when she fell asleep from exhaustion one night with a cigarette in hand she woke to find the her cigarette has only burned slightly even though it should have burned through the mattress she was sleeping on. She insisted that it was her fathers spirit watching over her. Patricia said this was why she had to return her house. The establishment is too big a part of who shes to let it go. She ensured us that we picked the right house to work on and she prays for everyone who comes through her house. She smiled gently nodding her head assuredly, “you will be blessed.” This is the moment I realized that the spirit of New Orleans was never broken, it was simply tested.

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