"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We took a little bacon and we took a little beans

I found out a few days ago, but I'm only now (that I have flights and hotels and conference registration all set) believing that I'm going to New Orleans in two weeks. Slightly less than two. For the "Third National Summit on Equitable Development, Social Justice, and Smart Growth." The managing attorney of our Sacramento office called on Friday and told me about it. Our office will be able to send two of us, and it turned out that by flying to NOLA a day early we got a much cheaper flight. I'm going to ride a streetcar and hopefully not have to depend too much on the kindness of strangers, though kindness never hurts. This will be my first time visiting a place that has always captured my imagination. A little bit like San Francisco, but much older, sultrier, scarier. And a place that pointed out to everybody that poverty is alive and well in America, maybe a much bigger issue than we wanted to think, and that race is a factor as much as some would like to believe it doesn't. [So much for your colorblind society, Heritage Foundation.]

New Orleans is its own character in so many stories, not just a place where the story happens. Figures so enormously in so much creative work. Not the least of which is Johnny Horton's classic. Not that I've ever been a fan of Ol' Hickory. He probably would have belonged to the Heritage Foundation if it existed in 1814. Or the John Birch society...hahaha...hickory, birch...ahem.

Anyway. I will arrive there early evening on March 4. Conference starts gearing up late afternoon on the 5th, but isn't full swing until the 6th and 7th. Saturday there's breakfast and apparently some opportunities to work on some service projects. Flying home late afternoon on Saturday.


WP said...

Very dangerous town. i would read up on it from a Lonely Planet Guide or something. The place was seriously going down hill before Katrina.

Be careful and don't be alone on the street. I don't think you can pack heat either.

Buena suerte mi hija

Emily said...

I think the site of this conference was well chosen considering the serious problems the city has faced / is facing. I will be careful and use the buddy system, but we'll be in the more tourista areas where they really want people to come and feel like it's safe to spend money. I doubt there'll be much need of packing heat at the Sheraton. Don't know about the Marriott across the street though.