Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Random letters home

 [Migrated: 27 JUL 06]
[Note: New Orleans was my birth. Here's some insight as to why. More to follow.]

July 21
Back in NOLA... I've never wanted to be in Chico so bad. California, rather. I miss my trees and my friends, my family, cheap beer, airconditioning etc. The bs ride was hellish, but not undoable. I finished Cronan's Nature's Metropolis... I can definitely see how his life experience and research has helped him form his philosophic position on man's place in nature. We are undeniably tied to the earth's natural systems... How about that heat?
Brandon's here and many of my friends are here as well... but I am already irritated with the lot of it. I am drawing many paralells between Common Ground and the fraternity, especially that you can't force anyone to do anything in a nonproft. Also, the majority of peple lack the common sense and motivation to make the positive changes. It sucks... and that's why I miss home. Granted I love NOLA and certainly love the people I interact with but, although incredibly lonely and depressing life is without interaction, it sometimes seems easier to go at it alone. We can't really depend on each other, which is sad.
I wish I had a crazy story or some positive message for y'all, but I do not.
Last night, we got coffee at Cafe du Monde. We got an everclear daquiri on Bourbon to drink on our walk to Frenchman. The lights were out in the Bywater district, the riverfront and the north end of the Quarter... the city is still fucked up. And although I say it constantly, I really can't say it enough. We went to a little bar on Frenchman and saw Washboard Chaz again... he rocks. Had some Abita Restoration's, which are fantastic and had an interesting conversation with some locals. All and all, another day in New Orleans.
I would really love to spend some time blogging my experiences and thoughts, but I lack a moderate degree of privacy.
Did I mention it's fuckin hot??
I'm most likely going to spend a few days in Houma doing work there. Also, we are going to do some plantings for the Wetlands Restoration project in city park. I've spent alot of time between Cronan and Dr. Mark thinking about restoration and our role in nature, If you want a little news spot on the restoration issue, check out the Times-Picayune online. Also check out the housing issues in today's Opinion section...
I keep rambling because I'm tired and don't want to get back to work, but I'll spare you for now...
BREEDing the LOVE, from the Chocolate City

July 23
So another day in NOLA... It stormed like crazy yester day and this morning. A coffee can full of water (about 6 inches deep) in two hours. The power was out for blocks last night for over five hours... Chilled with some cool Cali cats at Kajun's Pub... The lightning was spectacular. Only then could you see the eeriely deserted streets throught the darkness of a city without power.
Today was average. Some things buggin me... but nothing out of the ordinary here at Saint Scaries. Crazy anarchists, gays and lesbians, college kids, the whole gambit...
At least the people here aren't as crazy as the Christian fundamentalists that are causing problems in Jackson, Miss. Pretty wild... Check it out at their website. They are basically fucked up right wingers attacking Roe v Wade at the last operationing clinic in Miss. A group of common grounders went to join NOW and other prochoicers in defense of the clinic. They basically disturbed their rallies and barricaded the prochoicers rallies.
The website is chaulk full of rhetoric and Bible thumping greatness. The writer (I doubt a journalist) should pick up a job with the tabloids, because she equated the commongrouners in protest as 'marauders' and satanists.
They had tshirts that said:
"Feminism is rebellion against god,
Islam is a lie,
homosexuality is a sin,
abortion is murder."
Pretty wild, no?
Moral of the story: These are the people that we are dealing with. The religious right is an enemy that we must face... Not in violence, but somehow... I haven't figured out how... I guess I can't grasp how backwards these people are...
I'm not religious, but the way they spin the story and twist the bible to serve their agenda is wrong. In my studies of the book, the only thing Jesus taught was love, for your god and for your neighbor. Tolerance. Compassion. Brotherhood. But it is these fundamentalists: these rightwingers, zionists, hezbollah etc that threaten to tear the world apart for their struggle, in the name of the same god (just under a different name). And that's the fear that weighs me heaviest...
Thanks for stickin with me...
Much love,

July 24
Can't talk long... but, today was alright. It rained. We kept power though. Malik Rahim, the founder of CG and a Black Panther spoke to us earlier. He had alot of positive things to say about the future. Basically, by building community and a consciencness in this nation, we can meet our goals of global peace and justice.
He had alot of positive things to say about environmentalism and rebuilding nola as a green city and also making NOLA the most progressive city in the nation...
I'm gonna spend sometime in Houma to better round my experience on the bayou then I'm going to Jackson to fuck with the religious fundamentalists that threaten global security... I'm off to save the world, but until then...
Peace from the Chocolate City to Lebanon and beyond,

July 25
I miss my friends... :( especially Dave aka Socrates, that bitch Lauren and my beautiful neighbor Taylor :( But I don't miss school (surprise!)... papers, deadlines (that I rarely meet), incompletes etc...
I've been schooling some fools in the art of drinking. The Kajun is a fun place to throw back a few and choke on a cloud of smoke. I'm going to see some jazz tonight in the Quarter.
I think I'm going to interview Malik and try to put together some indie news articles and try to get my story out to the CN+R, Orion, Synthesis etc. There are things that need to be said about the conditions down here. CGC (two people with fifty bucks sitting at Malik's table smoking a fat spliff) made a call for volunteers in September and have serviced nearly half a million people with gutting, food, water, clothing, legal and medical services and so forth, and estimate the economic value of the services provided (at no cost to residents thanks to Malik's incessant fundraising) at 100 million dollars.
Like a previous post suggested: IMAGINE if Bush had mad the call, or the governor, or even Nagin. This city could be even further along the road to recovery...
But withstanding, CG and every volunteer that has passed through the doors of St. Mary's a clinic or distro or anyone that camped on Malik's lawn has brought with them a gift... hope to the residents of this wonderful city, hope to return and rebuild stronger and smarter, to take back the streets and sustain the amazing culture and energy of New Orleans for generations. Imagine what you can do in your own community and realize that the quickest way to peace and safety is through community bonds and direct action. I'll end with this, although cliche: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
One Planet, One people.

July 27
Another day of the same shit... I'm feeling pretty down. Y'all could show me some love by rolling up a fatty and blazin it for me...
I had a good conversation on militant activism last night at Kajun's. I certainly expanded my knowledge of the subject, as well as networked with a few Chico peeps in the activism scene. We are going to put together a candle light vigil for the 29th of Aug... not necessarily about Katrina and NOLA, but about social injustices, war and poverty, in general. If anyone has ideas for speakers etc. let me know.
In another conversation, we discussed anarchism and its role in our nonprofit. Basically we agreed that St. Mary's doesn't work, because there are too many people. It would be much more effective were it run as a business, but that conflicts with the values and foundations of the organization as 'collective'. Again, I find so many parallels between CG and the fraternity. It is much easier to manage small groups of people. Everyone has a job and they do it, or it doesn't work and people can hold the slackers accountable. Plus, a real spirit of activism can only exist in a core group of people. Once numbers get over some point, more and more find it easier to assume that someone else will pick up the slack. When everyone adopts that mindset, nothing is accomplished...
Like I said, CG does tons for the communities of New Orleans, but it is becoming less effective. We have over five thousand homes on our waiting list alone. There is too much to be done... and it is overwhelming! No wonder most coordinators, including myself, come close to complete mental breakdown. But to stay on topic, CG will live on without St. Mary's. We have many long term projects that will take several years, if not decades. Rebuilding communities is not simple, nor is the task of growing a social and environmental revolution from the ruins of an institutionalized corruption.
More and more, I see what I can accomplish. But the farther I look into the future and to my goals, the further they seem. I'm so overwhelmed by it all. And all I want to do is smoke a joint.
Until next time kids,

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