In two days we’ll be flying to Cuba, but that’s another story.
Today was our last full day going down Memory Lane in Algiers Point, New Orleans, where we had lived from 2005 to 2010. As Annyth says, we were “in with Katrina and out with the Super Bowl.” It goes without saying that those were some life-changing years! From the very beginning – and to this day – we’ve had a special attachment to House of the Rising Sun Bed and Breakfast and its proprietors, Kevin and Wendy. In fact, they’ll be our travelmates on the upcoming tour.
We first met Wendy and Kevin in February of 2005, when we stayed at their B & B while we were closing on a house just around the corner from them (See The Misbelieve Tree.) As new residents of Algiers Point, we became friends with them, and through them, many others. Here we are “strolling” as the Monopoly Board in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras in 2009. The friendship and the story…to be continued.
Side by side, photo referenced, freehand iPad drawing in the Procreate app using Sty-HD stylus.
I once heard a change-management consultant tell a conference room full of hospital administrators, physicians, and staff … “the only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.” (Hey, I subsequently dealt with this image, click here to see.) I was one of those administrators in that conference room in New Orleans about six months after Hurricane Katrina at a hospital whose survival depended upon a very deliberate and systematic organizational transformation; and yet the natural forces of resistance to change – among the victimized and exhausted few who were not temporarily or permanently displaced – were functional and ready for a good fight. It’s only natural. However, there was no alternative in this case. The organizational and structural changes simply had to take place and the resistance to change had to become collaboration in change; and this happened in large part due to an extraordinarily unique combination of chronic passion (joie de vivre) and acute Katrina fatigue in an extraordinarily unique context in an extraordinarily unique city.
However, when the need for change is perceived as optional and any sense of urgency is a matter of opinion, development efforts can drag on for years, resistance to change can become business as usual, and collaboration can be confined to ongoing turf battles. Even when complicated baseline findings of the communities’ perceived needs are available and displayed along side the communities’ complicated aspirations for all to compare, there can be voices crying out for simplicity and ease … but not for change.
If I ever do this again, I’ll try to remember to start off with that catchy quote about the baby, the diapers, and change, which reminds me of a drawing/post I have up my sleeve about calzones and how I suspect that this term, which means pants, really comes from little, little pants…diapers? The fullness of diapers?
Watching the final episode of Treme last night on HBO reminded me of the richness and incomparability of New Orleans and the life-changing 5 years that my wife and I spent living, working, and redefining ourselves there from 2005 to 2010, roughly the same timeline that David Simon and Eric Overmyer followed in the creation of Treme. We had been there just under 6 months before Hurricane Katrina hit. That portion of my experience and memory will forever be eclipsed by the following 4 and a half years dedicated one way or another to one form or another of rebuilding. Treme helped me begin to make sense of the fullness of that experience, which I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. New Orleans is an incomparable city in so many ways, and it has an enormous lesson to teach the rest of the world; and Treme, if I may generalize, should be a central component of the curriculum.
Last night’s final episode of Treme coaxed out a pre-Katrina memory. I was reminded of one of the many trees that we had to have removed from our property in Algiers Point, one of the few things we got done BK (Before Katrina). Some folks in the neighborhood called this tree a misbelieve tree or a misplease tree. It was, in fact, a Eriobotrya japonica or loquat tree, which some called a Japanese plum tree. Its trunk had been damaged, it leaned very much, and the arborist said it had to go. Those names, I’ve read, are associated with the tree’s name in either French or Italian. I’m not sure. Any ideas out there?
You’ll see this tree in living color 15 seconds into the following short video that I put together (images and terribly slow soundtrack) to celebrate our selling the property, which I’ve been told was the last house to sell in the Western Hemisphere in the summer of 2008!