Day 296: The Ninth Ward in New Orleans with Emergency Communities

In Miami tonight, I am reflecting on my long weekend in New Orleans. There is more to come, as I have a lot to say in regards to a fantastic day I spent with Emergency Communities, an interesting non profit that is doing some cool things down there.

But in brief, I will say that we happened upon this non-profit by chance, and could not have been happier with their "come as you are and with what you have" grassroots philosophy on volunteers. Specifically volunteers like me and Amalia, who have little tangible qualities to offer anyone.

We had a great day, learning about them and trying to not mess things up. However, the high point came when the coincidences that seem to follow Lara and me around this world reigned down supreme. I'd seen this one guy there the whole day, and knew he worked for the organization in some capacity because he spent a lot of time walking around purposely. He looked kind of older than me, and professional in a sort of uber hip "these-are-the-clothes-I-wear-to-do-the-work-I-do" kind of way.

Perhaps I hadn't talked to anyone in like thirty minutes or something, because when he came up to me it was as if I momentarily forgot how (sometimes when you first wake up in the morning it can feel like this). So when he asked my name, and then started repeating "Claire" several times with awkward pauses, I just sort of stood there, thinking he was having trouble pronouncing it.

However, Amalia, who was watching the whole thing, said it was pretty evident to any breathing homosapien that he was cuing me for a last name. Which I finally provided, to which he said something dramatic like "I knew it!" and then he told me he was Mischa Byruck, and we went to middle school together back in California, and that he had started this organization when he came down right after Katrina.

It was really strange, needless to say, and I got really breathy and glowy and anxious kind of like I did when I ran into Spencer, the kid I studied abroad in Chile with, on the streets of Beijing.* So then the day kind of changed, and we heard all about Mischa, and his life since he was 13, and how we could find ways to write about Emergency Communities and the awesome work they are doing. We took lots of video as well, but here is just a start.

This is a staff member, Laura, showing me and Amalia around the lower ninth ward - specifically Tennessee street, which borders where the levy broke.



*To keep things interesting, it turns out Mischa studied in Chile the same year as me and Spencer and KitchenAssassin.

7 comments:

SavvySunshine said...

I put this on your other Miami post, but I wasn't sure if you (Claire) would read this:

So, let's hope y'all get this.

It's very prescient (big GRE word, hopefully spelled right) that you are in my hood, because Friday night I dreamt about y'all. I wasn't gonna tell y'all as that would put me in psycho stalker territory real quicklike, but now, I see it was foreshadowing. Aaaaah.

Yeah, OK. Not a stalker, promise.

Hope you're enjoying the lovely weather down here. At least it stopped raining! If you are still in town this weekend, there's a World festival closer to my 'hood, if you and your sis would like to go.

SavvySunshine said...

The video has this weird negative (as in photo film) moment right in the middle. Was that on purpose?

claire said...

yes on purpose! me trying "Effects"...i dream about people all the time. not weird at all...i leave saturday, so sadly can't make it...but AM enjoying the weather...when's the wedding?

sarah mac said...

thanks for sharing the video and the story of robert green. simply breathtaking.

ps...i had a dream about you and lara, too. we were unloading donation supplies from a semi trailer in a field and gossipping about all the people i went to high school with who kept traipsing around in front of a bonfire like little kids dressed up in their parents clothes, pretending to be adults.

Claire and Lara said...

so the little children were traipsing in front of bonfires in the past, and we were remembering it - or they were in the donation field?

fascinating.

is there a good dream blog out there?

sarah mac said...

they were actually in the field with us off in the distance, as adults, but dressed in oversized clothing. all of their movements were highly exagerated and comical. i know it sounds bizarre, but this is what my mind does when i'm "resting".

if anyone knows of a good dream blog, i'm all over it.

SavvySunshine said...

Oh fooey! It would have been cool to meet you, but alas, that is for a future time in our life.

We haven't set a date for the wedding. But it will be sometime this year or, more than likely, next year. We are looking into November.

As for dreams, check out the Dream Dr.

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