Friday, April 11, 2008

Little bit of NOLA everywhere

American Flyer Ski Lift
Copper Mountain, Colo.
April 8th, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

It contributes to pollution and maybe the ambassadors of environmental stewardship on Copper Mountain hate the Mardi Gras beads hanging from trees at 10,000 feet.

I'm stretching by saying that the beads hanging next to the Copper ski lifts somehow symbolize New Orleans. But I'd be willing to bet the what comes next for the skiers who say "look at that" is a fleeting image of New Orleans.

Leaving the City this time has boosted my battery. Living there is living in the center of joy and pain, optimism and doomsday. It takes energy, persistence and devotion.

I'm sitting at the gate now in Denver. We board in 20 minutes. The flight will be full. People are flying stand by. I just peaked over a woman's shoulder. Her itinerary is headed with "Girls New Orleans getaway." This, for lack of a better explanation, is positive.

She's not being dragged by her company to a convention. Judging by the pink stationary, they picked New Orleans for all it once was and continues to be. The guy behind me is also taking his wife to the French Quarter festival this weekend. "We wanted to go down and spend some money to contribute to the recovery" he says to the women sitting next to him.

The women are going for a healthcare conference. I'm a total eavesdropper.

The man goes on to tell them how the doctors in New Orleans are well-versed in gun trauma. "The turf battles" he says. I already knew this was how conversations outside New Orleans go. He then goes on to butcher some French Quarter street names. But to them, he's a New Orleans' authority.

New Orleans:

Sympathy from the storm
Great Food
Wonderful Music
What about the Violence
How about my Safety

And so it goes. On and on. Over and over in boarding areas and inside of airplanes the perception of New Orleans' instability rules.

The couple I sat next to on the plane are on a weekend getaway from San Francisco. "We've never been to New Orleans," the man said. "Our friend told us we had to come."



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