Thursday, October 15, 2009

Now I've gon' & Dunnit~ Hot Dog!

Photography JHM©09 All rights reserved
I've gone & done it...
Well it has happen 2 weeks and 4 days ago I took the leap and went home to New Orleans. I have had this pull since the storm o return but circumstances as well as my own deflection delayed, though not denied, what has now happened.

After awhile of doing things long distance, it wasn't enough. Because of an extraordinary circumstance and a few exceptional persons, I tossed, discarded and gave away what I had in Oregon and not only came home, but ironically ended up 2 blocks from where my parents as a young married couple brought me home from the hospital.

I have proof the address is on my birth certificate.

The house is gone after Katrina but I track down the owners. My parents just a few months after my birth bought our house in the Lower Ninth Ward which is where I spent my childhood. And I discovered by one of local artist fiercely working it in the Lower Nines, that the last vestiges of my childhood, the elementary school I attended has now been demolished.
Too long with too much mold, asbestos & time caused its demise.

Within 3 days I was attending the Imagining America national conference held at the New Orleans Villa Treme African American Museum that set the tone. ..

I will also be volunteering with Mos Chukma Institute housed at the MLK Charter School for Science & Technology , the only operating school in the Lower Ninth Ward where our 44th POTUS Obama stopped in to visit today.

The director of Mos Chukma ,which is a Houma Indian word meaning "perfect child", Amelie Parker, a vital 60-something artist residing in Bywater community in the Ninth Ward, gave up her retirement monies packed up came home to create this innovative , unique program assisting the young children in coping with bereavement, grief & loss following the storm. It is the only component in the city using the arts with mental health with young people some of with are now entering middle/ high school and now able to articulate their feelings.

Ms. Parker who has a degree in psychology & a talented artist had previously worked on a reservation in Northern California, but without hesitation came home to New Orleans to help.

Four years later with her entire retirement now spent, she is still diligently plugging in. Her son who is an English teacher came to New Orleans to volunteer for a few weeks last year and has decided to return ended up teaching literature in one of the schools on the West Bank.

Now I've come also to lend a hand... As I should.
I know Ms. Parker's vision is to broaden the scope of what she is doing in training others so this excellent program can be implemented in other schools in the parish. In my personal opinion I can easily see it being a national one too.

Her fierce devotion to these young people is being done on air as most of us can appreciate from some point of our lives. I am planning on not only giving of time, but a percentage of the sale of my art over the next year to help. Understand, Ms. Parker could have lived the last third of her life in comfort, but like many others in faith & courage came.

We could do no less...

In the last year I've come to discover that I was not the only one who had hear the pull and the song to come. I knew of 11 others who have. I can say this for a fact, the vibe is different and people are working hard.
Neither I nor any of these other people see ourselves as Moses. None of this is done out of arrogance.. It is our home too and this is what we should do. We run the gamut of occupations & professions from the visionaries, artists, business people and even an mathematician.

This 1st year I will start blogging on my first year home, as an observer & a native daughter , called Burnt Toast, Sweet Tea & Thyme.
I want to, as I renew my relationship with my home as it is being renewed, is to highlight those as one I met today and how they are in the small and the lagniappe, are doing their part, pulling their weight.

And I will also have a group by the same name meeting in my home on a monthly basis after the 1st of the year as I raise the question a the conference in who will care for the caretakers? These are the first line of people who came home who are tired, need cheering and respite to refuel and refresh.

So here we are...
I love these two quotes:
"If we truly love, we must deal with a person where that person is. Not as if all that their life can mean is wrapped up in what we are seeing and experiencing with them at that moment in time. We must deal with them in the light of what they are plus what seems to be the possibility & potential of their lives. To meet people where they are & deal with them there as if they were where they should be, this is love". ~George Frasier,Success Net

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly."~Patrick Overton

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