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This past weekend felt like a watershed for my neighborhood, but it also left me feeling overwhelmed.

Our Mid-City recovery planning meeting with Clifton James took place Saturday morning, and it was both uplifting and inspiring and surprising. We’d expected Clifton to make some sort of presentation. Instead, he pretty much turned it over to us, the community of neighbors. I was a little taken aback at first, but one by one people stepped up and reported on the planning work they’d done in various areas like education, housing, healthcare and many others. We only formed these committees a couple weeks ago, and I was amazed and heartened by the amount of thought my neighbors had put into their plans. It was particularly gratifying to me because I’d written the tentative first draft of this plan back at the end of May. Here it is less than a month later and that skeleton has gained flesh and might even come to life.

Planning Meeting

I’m telling you, it almost moved me to tears. I was proud and happy and deeply moved.

I was very skeptical of this process when it first began, and I’m still cautious about the final outcome. But I also think that if we can keep up this level of interest and involvement in the community — and increase it by reaching out to more people — that we can not only dream big, but make our dreams come true. Not by trusting anyone else to do it for us. By doing it ourselves.

The planning meeting was followed by the Festival of Neighborhoods, which was a screaming success. Simply mind-blowing. (It was also very hot and our Midwestern guests pretty much melted.) Then there was the public kickoff meeting for FOLC Sunday afternoon, and the Mid-City recovery planning committees meeting Monday night… It just doesn’t stop.

We had some old friends from out-of-town visiting this weekend: Scott and Justine Evans of Bloomington, Indiana.

Scott & Justine

It was their first trip alone together since their first child was born five years ago. We ate at Coop’s, Jacques-Imo’s, the Parkway Bakery, and Café Atchafalaya, plus had a home-cooked meal (grilled salmon and curried tomato bisque). I took them on the Mandatory Misery Tour. Scott played at the Neutral Ground Open Mic Sunday night (I’ll post media soon). They are very dear friends, but it was difficult to juggle spending time with them and all these meetings. That led to some tension, and I’m afraid Xy got the worst of it. We fought, and it was ugly, and even though she doesn’t read these postings, I want to say it: I’m sorry, baby. Of course I told her in person too.

What an emotional roller coaster.

So yesterday was Monday and I was feeling really taxed. Stressed. Strung out. Overwhelmed. A little hungover too. First thing when I got up, I had to make a bunch of decisions on the renovation of our house. I’d wanted to take the day off but it seemed there were work responsibilities I really had to attend to. I got to work to find a virtual mountain of e-mails. The phone was ringing a lot and there were also lots of people to talk to face-to-face. Even when I ran home for lunch the cell phone kept ringing. So much to do, so much information to process, and everything’s urgent. By the time my afternoon committee meeting rolled around I was having a hard time staying focused. I thought I might even have a Katrina moment right there in the conference room. That would have been embarrassing.

But we had a wonderful dinner last night at Café Atchafalaya. I even skipped the meeting that night. Scott and Justine headed home this morning. Today I’m getting my second wind. It’s not a sprint, I know, I know. It’s a marathon. I’m trying to pace myself.

Published inFriendsLife with XyNeighborsNew Orleans


  1. Adrastos Adrastos

    I had the same visitor versus meeting mania thing last month. I was whupped.
    Glad to hear your plan was so well received. That’s great.

    Interesting that XY doesn’t read your posts. Could be a good thing; Dr A is either my biggest fan or harshest critic.

  2. Lee Lee

    We all feel overwhelmed at times. It’s in how you handle it that shows your true character. From what you posted, it’s sounds like you handled things fairly well.

    BTW: I am sending out these backordered season zero discs tomorrow, and that will be it for a while. The place is packed up, and the computer is the next to go. I’ll see u on the flipside my man.

  3. Jon Jon

    Off the subject. I stole your photo of the amended memorial to Jefferson Davis. The picture sort of tied together a bunch of stuff I’ve been reading from “Southern regionalists”, some stuff about fake confederate memorials, some stuff on the reparations issue and a a little article about the Klan honoring their confederate dead at Antietam. If you object to the theft of your photo I’ll remove the post immediately. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy your work and wish that we’d met in the long ago and far away days in B’ton. PS, I credited you for the picture.

  4. […] of trepidation since we kinda thought they were slipping a while back, plus Xy had a major meltdown last time we visited. I’m happy to report we found Jacques-Imo’s better than ever; indeed, it was […]

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