Finally managed to wash my clothes yesterday, in the lovely house we’re staying in in Algiers. Never been to this part of New Orleans before – it’s on the other side of the river and full of very old shotgun houses, weird shacks selling “coon” if that’s possible and beer and oysters. There are also lots of damaged houses and then some new buildings as part of the renewal.
People have been telling me it’s “the same, and different” in this city and I guess that’s the only way to describe it. There are certainly way less people than before, I can maneuver the weird U-turn system a lot easier than I could when there were more cars. There is such a feeling of people trying to do good things – building, shops, art, the usual music and food that is incredible and varied. I haven’t been to the parts of town that were really wiped out, only here and the area around Tulane, the French Quarter and Warehouse, Magazine and Garden District. I think Hazel has found an apartment, at least I hope she has. I love imagining her setting up all her stuff in her own place for the first time – I remember being so excited to do that when I finally had an apartment that wasn’t the dorm or a continuation of dorm living. And then she’ll go out and explore. I hope she’ll be safe. I try not to worry about it too much.
It’s hot, no doubt about it, but by Louisiana standards I think they’re having a very mild summer. We’re going to take the Algiers Point ferry to Canal Street this morning and have beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde. It seems kind of corny but that’s something I love about being here – doing the corny touristic things is no sign of defeat. Just embracing the lifestyle.
As I was folding the clothes, I was trying to remember when I even last did laundry. Was it North Carolina, at Alison’s house concert? Was it Julia and Dan’s? Or Tom’s house in Rochester? I know everyone offered.
I zipped everything very quickly back into my suitcase. There are these huge bugs here, palmettos I think they call them, that terrify me. Hazel and I saw one the first night and we both tried to be strong. After all, it’s part of living here, just like the heat, and the gumbo.