This is a post written by my momma, and I won't preface it with much lest I step on her punch line, but you sure can tell from her writing that this apple didn't fall far from the tree.
New Orleans is one of our family homeplaces, somehow wound into our shared DNA. The city's still kind, still sassy, and she still needs our help, yall.
Slap My Momma It’s Time for a Bit of YaYa Gumbo - Momma KJ
I don’t know how anyone else spends vacations, but my favorite is to go to New Orleans for stripping, screwing and getting plastered. I do it for the benefit of the people of New Orleans through the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana’s (EDOLA) Rebuild New Orleans Program. Along with a ragtag crew of volunteers-- most who have never done any construction--we work on rebuilding the homes damaged by Katrina. The homes are owned by New Orleans natives with no back-up resources. Mostly, my crew has worked for older women. In seven trips to New Orleans, we’ve done everything from gutting homes immediately after Katrina (stripping), hanging drywall (screwing) and then prepping the drywall for painting which generally entails a whole lot of drywall paste on everyone (getting plastered).
(ed note: my momma can drink you under the table, unless your name is Hailey.)
Our most recent homeowner admits to being over 70, and I seriously doubt she weighs much more than her age. Like most of the homeowners we’ve worked for, she is all about saving as much of the old as she can, so we have to be innovative.
EDOLA supplies us with tools, materials, and young team leaders who stay in New Orleans for months at a time, for the whopping stipend of $500 a month plus a place to live. It used to be a $1,000 a month but like everyone else, EDOLA is hurting for funds. Fortunately, they still get wonderful young people willing to work for peanut butter. Any amount you might be able to donate would greatly help. If you wish to send a cash donation, checks may be sent to ECS 504 Rebuild Campaign, 1623 Seventh Street, New Orleans, LA 70115. They should be made out to Episcopal Community Services with Rebuild in the memo line for proper credit.
"Since I'm also an East Coast cat, I'm gonna try to help you out. And break down some history for yall."
"as a representative the east coast cat coalition, it's my duty to let a fellow member know:"
“I’m from Brooklyn. I came to D.C. about thirteen years ago. I wanted a change of pace and a different environment as New York is so congested and crazy. The thing that keeps me here is the women! Not really…OK, really it is the women!
And....returning from 10 days away, in a country that reminded me of a rasta-flavored Carolina shore, or a reggae version of New Orleans. I also highly recommend (for those of us who are all-too-connected) taking a trip wherein which nothing is plugged-in: a phone, the internet, or anything higher-tech than a good book and a cold beer.
"Razor wire and cinder blocks -- it was a look, and it is perhaps irreplaceable."
They're razing the remaining DC nightclubs on Half Street, and the story of how the "jocks finally won" surprised me at how touching it was. That strip of clubs were the first places I ever went out to go dance. A drag queen taught me how to put on eyeliner in the bathroom of Tracks, I walked into Wet to see Soul Slinger and walked out with a whole new understanding of the male persona, and the DJ booth at Capitol Ballroom was propped up on cinder blocks, but still banged out the best music I had ever heard.
To add insult to injury, 5 more NYC clubs, 3 of which were gay clubs, have been closed by the cops in where else but Chelsea, including Avalon (which once upon a time was the Limelight) and The View Bar.
Lady Bunny quips "the real shocker is that there was ever anyone actually present in The View."
To summarize completely mangle Andrew Sullivan's post on the topic - the excess and ridiclousness of the club scene are only part of what makes up gay culture and a slice of American culture. And yet, it'simportant, it was a pioneering way to declare that You Are Just Who You Are. I learned that sassy self-confidence from the dancefloor. Can't be all bad, can it?
It's kind've like how I felt when Times Square changed up. I'm not saying we need more strip clubs and crackheads. Change is welcome, necessary and good. On the other hand, do we really need to Disney-fy and sanitize everything that makes a city A CITY? Really?
Operation Eden is a blog by Clayton James Cubitt, who is one of the best young photographers in America - at least according to Surface Magazine and your personal taste. You may have seen his work with Nerve.com, suicide girls, Metropop Magazine and various Brooklynite fashion shoots.
He's a New Orleans native, a kid raised by a pot runner and a go-go dancer, with a keen eye for detail and a fierce love of his home. Click here, scroll to the bottom, and take a trip through the faces of hurricane survivors.
Update: you can also buy prints of his photos to help support his family - I bought one of the still lifes.
Whatcha doing Thursday? Well, everyone else will be out for an evening of music and cocktails celebrating the spirit of one of the best cities in the world. All proceeds will go to disaster relief - raffle money, tips, et cetera. A few online charties that I know are doing matching donations, so we'll find the one with the most generous and legit cause and send them one big old check. Click the image on the left for full details.