First of all I want to thank everyone involved with organizing the Rising Tide Conference for inviting me to be on the education panel. I had a great time on the panel and at the conference as a whole. I didn’t think I was going to talk so much but I guess that came easy to me because I live this city’s experience every day. I hope I was able to bring the perspective I set out to. I wish we had more time to get into some things more because it is a very complicated problem.
It was cool to meet the bloggers I hadn’t met before and put faces with the names of the people whose words I read and sometimes inspire me to express my own thoughts. I want to especially send a shot out to Allen Boudreaux for our conversation Friday Night and Mrs. Butler from Wounded Bird. She was cool to talk to. I also want to once again thank Clancy DuBos and Kevin Allman from The Gambit for the distinction of being the first guest blogger to appear on the Blog of New Orleans. From now on when Clancy’s on election night I can tell my friends I know someone on television and it’s not a lie.
It’s not lost on me that most of these cool things that I have got to take part in as a blogger have happened because of Hurricane Katrina. I will modestly accept the fact that a portion has to do with some personal talent. I am sure people wouldn’t ask me what I thought if it sounded crazy. However since the aftermath of the storm drives every agenda around this area it can’t be ignored. That’s why this is going to be my last post for the rest of the month.
There are two events this week that stick out in my head. The first one is August 27. That’s my surviving grandmother Mildred’s 90th birthday. It’s not only significant because she’s making 90. It’s significant because her 87th birthday party was the last time my family was all together at her house in the Lower Ninth Ward. The second event is obviously August 29th the anniversary of the storm. That’s the day I lost my other grandmother Geraldine to flood waters when the levees broke. She was 72 years old at the time of the storm and going strong. Beyond just the fact of losing her forever, the sad truth is that everyone I know lost a part of themselves in some way.
The way life has been since August 30, 2005 has required even the strongest person to ignore the human aspect from time to time in order to put their lives back in order. Even people like me who lost so much had to suspend that reality for enough time to move back home or get used to another place, rebuild their homes, plan the next five years and all that other stuff that goes with a total life change. In many ways my personal success and achievement is at an all time high. Unless I have a total meltdown it can only get better. Regardless of that, sometimes I just want to go sit on the patio and drink beer with my aunts or listen to my grandmother tell me how she can refurbish some piece of furniture she found at a garage sale that she has absolutely no room for in her house.
That’s the human aspect of the whole event that we have lost because everybody now is caught up in where the money is and what neighborhood gets enough of it to come back strong or not. I can’t lie and say it doesn’t happen to me. I rant and rave about stuff like that all day because I can’t help it. This year I am not going to do that. I’m not doing anything. I’m not going on the radio. I am not writing anything for anybody. I had a really cool idea I told Kevin about Friday night. I am not doing that either (sorry Kevin). This year I am going to chill out and spend time with my friends and family like every other week. I don’t want any exposure. I don’t want to be Cliff the blogger. I just want to be Cliff from St. Claude Avenue who use to hang out with Devin and Big G. Everybody from New Orleans may not feel this way but I personally think that storm was way to traumatic too turn into a holiday I need to look forward to every year. I’m trying not to give it any more power than it already has. That’s why until September I am officially vapor. If you are looking for me I will be sitting somewhere with a drink in my hand laughing at something crazy.