Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

So I’ve been mentally preparing for our trip this weekend to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. And while I have been excited, I found myself also kind of frustrated because there is so much going on this weekend that I fear we’ll never have a minute to just relax and see the city as you do when you live there. Between the NFL draft and the Saints draft day extravaganza, the Hornets playoff game, the Zurich Classic, and Jazzfest, how do you decide what to go to and when to take a break and just take in the city with your family? And then I realized something, three and a half years ago, on August 30th, 2005, I sat on a bed in a studio apartment my friend’s uncle let my family live in during the days following Katrina, and cried and asked my dad “will I ever eat red beans on Monday again, will I ever see another parade, will I ever watch the Saints play in the Dome, will I ever hear the sweet sound a brass band makes on the Heritage stage at Jazzfest?” And all I wanted to hear was “yes,” but like everyone else, he just didn’t know. And although I worry sometimes that I have allowed my life to be split in two – a before Katrina and post Katrina world – I think that sometimes that dichotomy forces you to appreciate every “normal” thing that happens today in New Orleans. Because the answer is yes! This weekend we will be in the greatest city in the world eating red beans, listening to the most beautiful original music in the very place the sound was born, overhearing Jazzfesters talk about who the Saints drafted with their first pick, getting text updates about how the Hornets are doing and whether Chris Paul has fought for a victory, and we might even be able to squeeze in a little golf too. And while Mardi Gras has passed us by, we will certainly see a parade – it will be the Mardi Gras Indians and the Social Aide and Pleasure Clubs with costumes as colorful as their personalities that lead the Second Line though the grounds. And we will fall in line and dance to the beat they create without thinking because in New Orleans it’s just in you. It’s almost like the music, and the dancing, and the celebration of life that is Jazzfest is our way of thanking New Orleans for still being here- for giving us a place where the unusual is really just normal. So when I start feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices we will have to make about what to do, I guess instead of being frustrated, I will be grateful. So in homage to the great Jazzfest veteran Jimmy Buffet, with my change in latitude will be a change in attitude.

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