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Indiana Tran

Thursday, August 3
Joshua said, "You're practically there on the one year anniversary of Katrina." I thought about it - it does seem historic, doesn't it? One of our history's worst disasters, but as much debri, missing windows, FEMA trailers, and hints that Katrina was here - I tried not to reflect on it. People here are rebuilding, inspite of being screwed out of financial aid, manpower, or just time. These people are just trying to get back to "normal," and for that I can respect that effort.

My friend Kristalyn wanted me to come down here with her, she's Indiana Jones but much hotter. She also has this friend named Autumn who shares that same sentiment [from what I've heard, we've only known of each other through Kristalyn], but both of these ladies storm the country. Kristalyn has been to most of the country, and her friend does a lot of traveling too. When I say traveling, I don't just mean Michigan Ave or the Sax Fifth Avenue in whatever metropolis, I mean backpacking through Puerto Rico, Mexico, the bayou of Louisiana, or the abandoned graves of South Carolina. On this trip, Kristalyn's let me ride her coat tails - we've ventured out to a plantation [the one where Primary Colors and Interview with a Vampire were shot], and we [including Katie May] had a hard laugh about how the last woman of the plantation decided to make a tear drop walkway to the backdoor of the house, because somehow that landscaping job would rectify that slavery stigma.

But it doesn't always have to be so serious, and that is what these trips remind me of - the joy of just laughing. For example, I asked Kristalyn if I could have one of her meatballs, and she said it depends on how many there are. Katie May said, if there were only one, wouldn't they call it spaghetti and meatball. And I said, "We can call it the Lance Armstrong Special."

We had time to go to Baton Rouge, or the Red Stick, and then Kristalyn went into the history behind it and really all I wanted to see was what fucking institution had accredited Shaquille O'Neal with a degree. We got to see LSU, the tiger that they kept caged next to the stadium, and most amusingly was the billboard for a chain restaurant called "CAGED," that had a billboard that depicted a dog painted to look like a tiger. I'm still not sure if it was photoshopped or if someone took the time to paint a dog. The jury is still out.

With all this - I remembering thinking, how sad it is for everyone to talk about loving America. It's beautiful on postcards and on July 4th to be all fucking patriotic. To salute the flag and say America is the best place in the world, but it's so sad that few people ever venture out into the thick of it to see what you can actually say you love and hate about it. Because you can't honestly say you love everything about anything, there are always dents, flaws, weaknesses that you look past. But so few of us venture out past our area code to discover what they actually are.

Vague Rantings

Wednesday, August 2
I'm away from work, but it never seems like I'm actually away. I've gotten wind of the problems, but more importantly the politics of everything. And the only thing that I wanted was actually pretty simple.

To teach, to help, and to have a job that protected me as I did all those things, but even though they haven't attacked me. There is part of me that feels that I'm not being looked after. The company is changing, and the dynamics are too, but they still talk to me as if I were an idiot. The only thing I desire is that for them to talk to me like a human being, as if they respected me as they should, being that as a college educated employee. But it seems that all that I am is disposable.

They ask us to be everything, but when they treat us like nothing, what is there left to accomplish. What is there left of myself to give. Sacrifice is the job of a teacher, but how do you take from the well when it hasn't rain for so long?

On Location in the Big Easy: Part 2

Tuesday, August 1
Again since today was Kristalyn's birthday - we went out to a restaraunt that served barbequed oysters. Let me tell you, you don't understand true love until you know what barbequed oysters are. I believe the place was called Grillot's. As I'm writing this, there is an eleven year old cat still chasing his tail. With that said, because it had nothing to do with anything else that I'm about to say, there is a projected tropical storm coming from Puerto Rico. The big thing is that if it turns into the gulf, then they're talking about mass panic in New Orleans and the area as a whole. It's projected to hit next week, but my flight leaves here from New Orleans at 1:00 PM. If there is a scare, the place might be packed up tight, because the last time a hurricane hit the area, the place was converted into a make-shift hospital.

How was your day ladies and gentlemen?

On Location in the Big Easy

I'm currently in Mandeville, LA - if you look at a map and find New Orleans, look for the bridge just north of the city. Take that bridge, which spans 24 miles over water, then you'll find me. I came here through Memphis, TN, then through Oxford, MS, then to Kentwood, LA [home of Britney Spears]. Kristalyn and I have decided that it has answered a lot of questions we've had about the pop star, and we have concluded that white trash is something that you can't outgrow - it's like the kudzu. It will grow and grow until it takes you and chokes the life out of you - thus white trash. It's not their fault, it's something that is bigger than themselves. it is something that is bigger than all of us.

On this trip - Kristalyn's friend, Katie May, full name, not to be confused with Katie-May, first name. That was something that caught me off guard, but with that said, Katie May was our tour guide through the Big Easy, New Orleans. We ventured out with mother's {Big Steph's directions in hand] which read:

Go down Esplande, one of the oldest streets, older than St. Charles Ave. This street is where "A Street Car Named Desire" filmed [keep doors locked]. We took pictures of men on horses, invaded a church during mass, went to Bourbon Street and decided that a Live Sex Act was too much at 11:30 AM. I walked around town with what is known as a "hand grenade," got drunk and then had some gumbo and jambalaya. We had coffee. We had French donuts. We drove through a section called Lakeside, which was pretty beaten up by Hurricane Katrina.

There were homes that were still abadoned, and there were stains on the house which show where the water rose to and then sat stagnant at. i took pictures of the damage, which will be posted when I get home. After talking to all these people, Katie May, her parents, and their friends - it was suprising to hear them speak about it. As if it was yesterday, that it was all still recent. There were even parts of the town that they refused to go to because they weren't ready to see the devastation. Not only are they natives, but they are people that lived every section of the town. Her mother followed the music scene, and her father was a musician in the area, and to hear them talk about the hurricane is tragic. I only wish I had a camera to capture the feeling down here, because none of this writing will do it justice.

I've seen construction, like many people have but when you see it and think we'll they're tearing down an old building or they're putting up a new condo - you pay it no thought. When you see that it's a few guys gutting out their house with masks on because they don't want to catch "black mold" in 90 degree heat, you feel something different. They're starting from scratch, patching up what they have, so they can go back to life. By the sounds of it, you think New Orleans is back on it's feet and pushing forward, and parts of it are - the parts with the money and the parts that are salvagable, but then there are other parts where there is nothing. Big Steph said, "The parish looks like those pictures from Hiroshima, where everything is either dusty or disinergrated."

Happy Birthday Kristalyn.