New Orleans – a celebration of the living and the dead

Ask anyone – historian, café server, or psychic – New Orleans is an old soul that has lived many lives. Through those lives, it continues to shine with the celebration of life.

The city awakens as if waking from a dream. Trying to determine what is real.  At first slow and gentle and then as energy seeps into its consciousness it begins to pulse with an excitement for life. By dusk it begins vibrating with the sound of jazz and shouts of celebration. Just as the saints and spirits look down from above, the people of New Orleans crowd the balconies for a view of those living out loud on the streets below. The excitement is electric and as tangible as the beads bartered on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

The city reflects the character and diversity of its’ people.    

Food, music and spirit all diverse, bold, colorful, intense and perfectly blended. How else can Voodoo thrive alongside Catholicism? Wedding parties march down the street with a jazz band while Psychics read palms and Tarot cards on the next street? Historians share the stories of the dead while touring the living through hauntingly beautiful crypts filled with over one hundred thousand souls. The city is a celebration of the living and the dead.

And there is suffering.

You feel the pain inflicted on the architecture and heart of the city by hurricane Katrina.  Those who were brave enough to stay have rebuilt their lives and city. They understand life is about how you live each day. About making connections with your past and present. They share their journeys in stories, songs, food and dance. They bond in surviving together and are brave enough to dance in celebration. And they aren’t leaving this city they love.

New Orleans has a new calendar. Before and after Katrina. It defines the city not because it was a disaster, but because New Orleans survived and the people are stronger and living bolder because of it. Levee, Superdome, FEMA, death, disaster – yes these are all words describing the catastrophe Katrina. But so are strength, heroes, love, friends, American courage and thriving survivors.

Thanks for the lesson on connections New Orleans. #NOLA

 

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