Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rise and Rebuild

CHICKS ROCK! wants you to welcome Bridget back as a guest blogger this week:

Bridget is a recent graduate of Vassar College, where she studied Political Science and Women's Studies, and former TWM intern. She loves watching movies with her younger brother and playing rugby.

For the past few months, I’ve been working at a homeless women’s shelter in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. Although it can be emotionally overwhelming to live surrounded by such poverty and heartache, my experience has been positive because of the connections I have built with residents and new friends alike. If I have discovered anything here, it is that New Orleans and its residents are an incredibly heartfelt, resilient people. They are committed to keeping up traditions and celebrating their successes. It would be an understatement to say that this Mardi Gras season, coupled with the Saint’s World Championship, has been an ongoing party in the streets. They take their celebrating very seriously here!

In reality, the quality of life here in the 9th ward could be disheartening. There is a deep sense of lawlessness, abandonment, and raw sadness. The legacy of slavery and inequality have never been made more apparent or felt so immediate to me. Yet, despite the crime, lack of resources, and other adverse conditions, New Orleanians are consumed – obsessed, even – with hosting community meetings, parades, and other social events. I think there’s an unspoken understanding that everyone who has come back into the city has a responsibility to contribute to its rebirth, whether it’s through painting murals on buildings that create a collective social memory, having brass bands play traditional music on street corners, or just getting a local library card. These small acts are big statements that keep alive a sense of Home and Spirit.

The reason New Orleans is staying alive and even thriving right now is because of the resiliency and passion of its residents. If it were not for the strong sense of community and home, I fear it would just be another devastated, abandoned city. But, of course, New Orleans continues to prove itself to be much more than that and I’m proud and privileged to call it my new home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NOLA is fortunate to have people such as Bridget there. It makes me believe they will triumph and overcome all adversity!

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