Thursday, May 6, 2010
Voodoo, drive-in daiquiri and quiet spaces!
After the hustle and bustle of New York city, New Orleans seemed bizarrely quiet and empty. Where are the streets spilling over with people and music?! Was my initial thought upon arriving in NOLA. The streets are wide with large over passes and many empty and boarded up houses. There is a real feeling of an old ghost town here, some part of the soul truly never returned. Many people believe it was a conspiracy and after talking with a few people and seeing the evidence of buildings that could have been used as emergency housing and reno’d into new residences, that are now being torn down by the highest builder that will create god knows what kind of crap. I can see why this problem is one that the gov’t and corporations don’t give a shit about.
This first imagine of NOLA was quickly eclipsed by the people and culture which is what it is famous for now is it not. On my very first night Justin took me to an awesome fundraiser put on by a group of mainly middle to upper class white middle agers called the Threadheads. These Threadheads save their money and put it towards music funding projects of all sorts, albums for those without money for recording, educating inner-city youth,… And boy do they know how to party. I got to see the last act that was a jam of about 13 people from different groups playing creole zydeco, just like one imagines you would find in New Orleans. It was spectacular!!!!
Day two Justin and I did the quintessential tourist thing, walked up the French quarter, went down bourbon st, had coffee with chickory (yummy!!!) from Café du monde, ate po boys, went to the market, strolled along the mighty Mississippi and went to city park with massive trees hung thickly with Spanish moss. The French quarter is what I think of as new Orleans with beautiful old homes painted eccentrically with mismatched shutters and exquisitely wrot-iron balconies curving delicately around the sharp corners of the buildings. Bourbon st is almost as blinding as walking down a street in asia, but exclusively alcohol joints. This city is definitely made for drinking, I mean there are bars everywhere, stores that sell booze and my favourite the drive-thru daiquiri places. If you like to drink and eat this is the place for you.
Today I spent the day alone wondering and attempting to stay out of the intense heat and humidity, that I was so not prepared for. In my attempts to stay cool, I found an wicked store and cultural center about voodoo, the proprietors were both voodoo practitioners, one specializing in Haitian and one in New Orleans, as well as being openly gay, pagan and a vampire. They had tons of info and answered all of my questions. It was a fascinating experience. They really emphasized the positivity of the practice and how Hollywood has butchered voodoo just as it has all other religions except Christianity. I ended up praying to two Yoruban Orishas Oya for transformation and Ellegue for new paths and communication and bought a voodoo doll to encourage positive forces into my life and send the bad away. I am excited to start using it