Desparion Street, one area of the city of New Orleans where "white folks" just don't come and visit.
As I drove through this inner city neighborhood in New Orleans yesterday, I was struck by two things, my "seeing" my planetary brothers and sisters who lived here, sitting on the steps and porches in the midst of so much blight and suffering, and their 'seeing" me.
I pulled over in my car at first to photograph. Usually I will take a few shots from my car window so that I won't need to move the car to get the other side of the street. Before I pulled over to take the first shots, I passed by a young woman on the corner on crutches. We made eye contact and I smiled at her and nodded my head.
She was less than a half a bock away and watched me photograph from the car."What are you doing?" she hollered out. "I am taking photographs so that I can share them on the Internet and let people know that there are people who are still suffering down here."
A few moments later I got out of the car to photograph the other side of the street and realized that I was feeling mildly anxious about getting out of the car. I check in with these feelings later and realized that it was not "because of" the people on the street around me. It was the ominous presence of the violence and suffering they were enduring. It was dense and intense. And in the midst of this, the people who live here were trying to raise their families and have a life.
People are trying to create a decent life for their families
in the midst of terrible suffering and poverty.
"The Bush Administration refused to allow emergency funds to pay public sector salaries, and the City of New Orleans, which lost it's tax base, had to face three thousand workers in the months after Katrina.