Every month I go to a meeting full of wonderful people who help the city’s most vulnerable and needy people. I don’t want to sound corny but I am truly honored to know and work with people like them. Today’s meeting was a little aggravating because the room was hot as hell and there was just too much talk about Katrina for me. I understand why but the constant talking about it makes things a little heavy. I’ve come a long way but not far enough to want to talk about it for two weeks in a row. I’m usually one of the last people to leave the meeting. Today I was the first one to leave and I left early. I have never left that meeting early until today. I didn't have it in me and I didn't feel like faking it.
On the way back to the office I decided to stop at the Popeye’s Chicken on South Claiborne Avenue because it was early enough that not many people were at lunch so I could probably get in and out. When I walked in the manager was cleaning water off of the floor. I just so happened to have the same color shirt she did. While I was waiting for the young lady to take my order she walked up to me and said “I was about to say he got a shirt just like me. I was about to switch shirts with you because mine is wet.” I then told her I didn’t mind switching if she let me have my chicken for free. She laughed and said no.
About two minutes later a tall lady with blond streaks in her hair and about 7 gold teeth walked in with her elderly mama. She closed the door and the first thing she did was scream “Hi everybody! Praise be to God baaabby! How that song go mama?” She broke out into a gospel song but I couldn’t tell what she was saying because I was too busy laughing at her dancing. She then gave all of the ladies working there a high five and shook my hand. She spoke to all the people sitting down too. She looked at the cashier’s name tag and asked her, “Baby, how do you pronounce your name?..What?....Lord, tell your mama I said stop that madness”. Everybody started laughing. Two police officers walked in after that and sat down. When she noticed them she turned around and said “Hey officers how y’all doing? Ya’ll not the ones that arrested my son in law last night ha? Let me tell you about him. That boy ain’t nothing but the devil.” That’s around the time my fries were finally ready so I got my food and left her in there talking to the police officers while her mama just shook her head saying ‘that child is crazy.”
Now, some people might read that story and find it ignorant but with all the things we have been through I found it beautiful. I can’t quite put into words why this five minute episode in Popeye’s made me feel so good about being from here but I had to sit at my desk before I eat lunch just to write this and thank that blond haired, gold tooth sister for feeling good, being herself, and so New Orleans. I needed that today.