Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sincerely Heartbroken, then Humbled



"Dang, there is usually more people out here at 3am," I said to my friends as I sipped my favorite daiquiri (New Orleans Original in Jungle Juice, it will take you down!) strolling down Bourbon St. on Saturday. "I guess it must be 'cause of the hurricane," my boy replied, Yeah...

So blog readers, I know I didn't tell you (unless you know me) I was a graduate student at Tulane University in New Orleans and just moved to Florida to start my Ph.D. (Monday was the first day of school, yay for me!) I was just in the N.O. this weekend trying to get the rest of my belongings...and quite frankly to be able to stroll down the street drunk without police harassment (as long as the liquor is not in a glass container, ) just one last time. I was raised in Florida and we ain't scared of no hurricanes! But New Orleans...I wouldn't stay if you paid me. We all know that the city floods after a steady April shower, needing city pumps to pump water out of the city on a regular basis. Sooooooooo why, why, why, did people stay?

Now granted Trina was first forecasted to hit my hometown in the Florida panhandle, I just figured "hey, school will be out, long weekend!" So, I can probably understand people not taking the Baddest Bitch seriously. I didn't. Then as B.Gizzle would say, "She shook back like a 4 and half hard" and next thing you know the people of New Orleans are caught in traffic for 15 hours to just get out of the city. And still some stayed. When the hurricane became a category 5, they stayed. When it rained, my fellow members of humanity climbed to the attics of their homes. As my friend Julie would say, "New Orleans people are just spicy". That's all we can say.

I sobbed yesterday as I pictured my wonderful 1 bedroom I had just packed up that sat along the river and as I thought of my time in City Park with the ducks and the dates (I guess that was a bit redundant) realizing it was now all underwater. I cried as I saw the streets I walked to work, as I saw my school downtown, the Tulane Health Sciences Center...the school I countless times wished would just go up in flames , Canal street with their newly planted palm trees flooded on CNN. I cried as I saw my church flooded, the Target store I frequented ruined, when I tried to call my friends and couldn't get through. Our hangouts, my friends' jobs, cars and homes newly bought with new found jobs after graduation, gone. I cried as I thought of people I know stayed and didn't get a chance tell goodbye as I fled this weekend. And suddenly I realized how blessed I am.


I started this blog to help release some of the stress and pain of a broken heart, being away from my family and being in a cruddy city where I constantly saw people suffering. I hated Tulane and was depressed about 2/3 of the time I spent there. My life fell apart there, I fell apart there and truly believed that the devil was amongst me. But often times it was jogging on the levee along the river that kept me sane, writing my blog at the coffee shop on Magazine Street., watching the ships go by...it was the spicy people of New Orleans that cared for me, that kept me from ultimately being my own fatal enemy. The heat, the crumbling roads, the high taxes, closed minds, and corruption showed me that my city in Florida was unusually utopic. But whether it was playing the trumpet in the French Quarter or selling pralines on Canal Street, the people found a way to survive, they always did. My experience in New Orleans forced me to become a woman and I learned from its people how to survive. I always say that it takes a lot of love to hate someone... and I just realized how much I loved you, New Orleans. I was just drowning miserably with you and God saved me. Admiting now how much you've done for me, I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart, that he didn't save you.
Sincerely Heartbroken, then HumbledSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

15 comments:

  1. beautifully written SC, I had no idea you spent so much time there. It must be surreal to see the images. I am praying for the many people who are having to deal with rebuilding their lives and homes, jobs, and most important, healing themselves and their families.


    I went to boarding school in MS and NO was the place to escape our rules and be free. The city with charm, music, food, energy just seemed so mesmerizing. I hope to go back and sit at Cafe Du Monde and eat a beignet and be thankful for NO and it's beautiful charm.

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  2. Rachel3:33 PM

    Cheech, I cried reading that. My heart goes out to all that have loved ones and memories there.

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  3. Chi Chi:

    Thanks so much for your lovely lovely comment on my blog. I love you to girl and definitely plan on staying in touch with you. I wish you could come see me in Miami before I take off next Thursday for the DR but I know you are busy.

    I am devastated over what has happened in NOLA. Dealing with my mother last week and now seeing the images on the news regarding NOLA has made me feel pretty down these past two weeks. I hate leaving this country on such a negative note but I hope to come back and see my mom healthy and that NOLA will either be recovered or recovering.

    Anyway..girl please stay in touch with me..come for a visit...stay awhile!! Much love. Mia

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  4. Mkunde10:18 PM

    Chinonye,

    that was an amazingly well written essay. through your words i can just envision all that you write. you just made everything that more real.
    -mkunde

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  5. Beautifully tender piece.

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  6. Few of us can claim to have experiences that match yours. Mine can only compare in my mind. Still, you express your thoughts and feelings so poignantly that you remind the rest of us about our own personal NO, the place we wanted so badly to get away from yet the same place that kept us whole. Even now I'm fighting back tears from it...it sounds cliched, but hang in there. God will save NO, just not in the way we all expected.

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  7. Strange to be in a place one day and have it completely destroyed the next. Thanks for sharing...

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  8. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Secret Admirer your blog's are very well written. You portray your feelings very wel. I almost felt like I was there and going through what you felt. I already feel for those that are displaced and affected by katrina but you made it so real and plain to everyone else. Hope all is well and you feel better

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