I’ve been writing a lot about New Orleans experiences recently. I haven’t been to a ton of different places in the country or the world, although I’ve been to a handful, and I’ve never felt like any one place holds such… A presence. I’ve never felt like I could actually direct my anger at a place like it is an entity, a lifeforce all on its own.
I’ve been really frustrated this week and it’s been bleeding into my personal life. This hardcore rain happened that flooded some of the city for a few hours and it really frightened me. For the first time in my life I’ve felt unsafe at work and worried about the prospect of someone with a gun coming in and shooting everyone. It sounds really bizarre and out there, but with a handful of dramatic, odd experiences this week it feels like there’s something lodged in my throat and it’s a never-ending frustration with just…. New Orleans.
I can’t blame anyone for the weather. I knew it was below sea-level when I moved here. A scary experience at work one day didn’t even, actually equate to the person inspiring the fear having a gun–it was just the worry that began to creep in, the underlying gut feeling of wow, I might not be safe.
I’ve read the State of Louisiana’s manuel for what to do in an emergency front to back. I’ve been making meetings at work and formulating questions on how to craft policy on security and drills for intruders at my office. My partner has been frustrated with me wondering why I keep getting myself into a tizzy of my own making. It also doesn’t help that the local news is so saturated with the next crime in the city, SO MANY CRIMES EVERY SINGLE DAY–not to mention a shooting in the parking lot a block away and FIVE PEOPLE murdered down the street from my job within the past few weeks.
It’s just… So much. It feels really difficult to process and it’s that moment when I realize I need to be journaling more to just get this shit out of my brain, need to be blogging more, need to be documenting anger and resentment and beauty and details and it’s the time to pay more attention to stop myself from casting a wide, blank net over a whole lot of people and a whole lot of city.
I’ve been plunging into this mental state of ruin so insanely frustrated out of my fucking mind wondering WHY. Why can’t the city hire more police? Why are people killing each other over nothing? Who shoots somebody as they drive down a highway? Why do people DO this to each other? Why did the mayor (apparently) cut funding on police? Why is so much stock put into community partnerships and community organization when in reality the only thing that will truly curb violence is police?
I’m trying desperately to lean into the unknown, the curious, the mess of details that people don’t want to consider when they see things that hurt them.
I’m trying to lean.
I went to Algiers Point last night and sat on the water watching the sunset. I usually watch the Mississippi river from the French Quarter side and stare out at the green banks of Algiers. The water looks brown and dirty from that vantage point and so far below from the embankment. Who knew the view was a thousand times better on the Algiers side?
It was funny, I spent a ton of time all my life around water. I know all the little hole-in-the-wall beaches in my hometown. Whole days could be made out of drinking beer and smoking cigarettes down at the local beach and, depending how dirty the water looked, jumping off of a channel and wading back into the shore. I remember private beaches to sneak into, beaches below bridges, beaches with bottoms I could never feel after holding my breath and jumping in.
I stared past the water last night at the St. Louis Cathedral directly across the river. All of New Orleans looks so miniscule. For the first time all week my fears quieted and an intrinsic, guttural catharsis was finally unleashed, like looking at blue water sitting on some old rocks again feels like a version of home. I’m safe. Everything is going to be okay.