Monday, November 5, 2007


There is no photo of Lyndeele so that you might "visually" see her.

Let my words tell the eyes of your heart of her.

I met her Sunday whilst I was at N. Prieur and Barrone, mid city, taking photo's of the neighborhood for a story I want to do on the children living in still damaged areas of the city and what they are visually exposed to daily.

She came down Conti Street on a bicycle riding towards me, hollerin out in a sing song voice "I'm watching you - I can see you." She laughed as she got closer to me, pulled up her bike alongside me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was taking photo's so I could try and help by sharing pictures and stories of the suffering I continue to see in New Orleans since Katrina.

Her first words in response to me were about a neighbor of hers who had cancer, lost his house in Katrina, came back and someone else moved into his house and he can't get them out. I was touched that her first thoughts, if I was someone who could actually bring about real changes in difficult situations, (which I find in most cases I can not), was for someone else. Especially when clearly looking at her, her life had been and is a hard one.

I told her that I couldn't help with getting involved but I could tell what was happening to this man on my blog - which I have. I have learned my limitations over these past months and am using what skills I can to do what I can...

As the conversation went on, Lyndeele told me how she was evacuated to Texas and then after living in a FEMA paid apartment, was put into prison for a felony. She didn't discredit ownership that she had to pay for her crime. What she was so upset about was that the FEMA/the government was coming after her for $3000 in rent that her Texas landlady collected whilst Lyndeele was in jail. A situation she had no control over. FEMA/the government it seems is not prosecuting the landlady who took the money for rent even though she was aware her tenant was in jail - no they are prosecuting the woman who was in jail for the money. Lyndeele told me, "I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I didn't even know she was still collecting it."

Wow. That's just really wrong, in so many, many ways.

Then Lyndeele's heart began to open to me, she said to me "I know God put you in my life today", she smiled and touched my arm and I touched her back. Then Lyndeele told me that she no longer has to "lay on her back" to pay for her crack, she can find work that has (dignity) to get her drugs. And she wants to quit she tells me, "it isn't even tasting good when I do it". " I know it's time I should quit." "My sister has quit and she has five years."

I asked her "can you read Lyndeele?"

She tells me she wants to get her GED. I reach into the back of my car and pull out a copy of the AA 12 and 12. I had tried to start a 12 Step Meeting in the 9th ward but the meeting never took hold. I gave her a copy of the book. "This is how I got clean Lyndeele, this book, no treatment center. I have 20 years off the bottle. Just read a line or two a day."

As she took the book, she thanked me, (and meant it) and mentioned again how she felt God had put me in her path. "I have hiv/aids" she told me. "God is going to heal me." We hugged and she road away on her bicycle.

I think God put me in Lyndeele's path. She is such a beautiful soul. Life has taken such a toll on her physically and mentally and still her incredible and beautiful spirit emanates from her. I was so blessed to be seen by her.

Jah bless my planetary sister.

This is the lot by the school where Lyndeele and I met and spoke with each other. The church in the background is one of hundreds of churches closed and abandoned after the storm, the house is empty also.

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