Saturday, May 24, 2008


Not surprisingly, we loved New Orleans. Despite it's traumas, the spirit of the place is rich and strong. We stayed with our dear, old peacenik friend John Fitzgerald and his family. We met John five + years ago in Highland Park, protesting the war. He started the Friday film nights that I took over when he moved to NOLA, pre-Katrina.

Connor loved John's son Max and their sweet new Christmas puppy Oso. We ate delicious gumbo and strode Bourbon Street like good tourists. Made an Organic Armor connection in one of the mask shops. We also went down to the 9th Ward and saw the devastation there. It was a cold night so we bundled up. We walked along a ghostly grid of streets that used to be lined with homes, now empty lots. Everything has been levelled. Some strange, red, glowing tents were set up here and there in the darkness to represent the new eco-friendly homes that will soon be built in those spots. There was a trailer with architectural models of some of these. We also saw the Common Ground House, a place where many grass roots, permaculture-type rebuilding efforts are based.

Map of houses in 9th ward destroyed by broken levee (in red).

John is a printmaker who makes beautiful letterpress cards and images. He took us to his studio in an old warehouse not too far from the French Quarter. Paul coveted the gritty, industrial, artists-loft vibe. It was the kind of place he hoped to set up for Organic Armor in Asheville (and succeeded in doing, as you shall see if I ever get caught up with these posts).
We will definitely head back to NOLA someday.

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