Megan has done a wonderful job with this thoughtful piece, part memoir, part jeremiad, part questioning essay.
To think there was never any differentiation between natives & newcomers in some past time is mistaken. My mom moved to NOLA during World War II & at her funeral in 1993, folks were saying "You know she was not from here." When the Unitarian pastor Theodore Clapp arrived in the city in the early 1800s, he noted in his autobiography that leaders of his church were not natives to the city. Seems we have always made the distinction; it doesn't have to be taken as an insult. It might be an appropriate caution that there may be important things a newcomer doesn't yet know.
NOLA in the period between the late 1960s & late 80s was plagued with low self-esteem & arrivals of national chain stores & fast food outlets seemed like validation to many of us. The law of unintended consequences means NOLA lost some local institutions because of that influx. Only in the late 90s & early 21st C did we in NOLA realize that the locavore movement would mean cherishing our own foods & ways that we had earlier spurned.
This is not the NOLA I grew up in either, & I'm a lot older than Megan! True, not all change is bad, but NOLA's very resistance to some changes has served her well. Please remember that parts of the French Quarter (considered a slum) would have been destroyed for an expressway.
What happens in the future no one can know, but I'm convinced that we all have a hand in making what we hope for--rather than what we fear--come true.
Great work, Megan!
The Pray for Avondale campaign is both spiritual and educational -- it galvanizes both hearts and minds, and unites diverse people in a common purpose. Work can be another form of prayer, and those who informed of the situation, its impact on our community and on the lives of so many families may be inspired and enheartened to get involved in other, more concrete, ways. I don't blame anyone for such poor experiences of religion that they don't believe in the power of prayer, but this campaign is one way of bringing a lot of people together across faith lines in an important cause. Many will go on to take action, both congregationally and individually.
Powered by Foundation