Dearest Readers,

The City of New Orleans is real. I’m here. It sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. How do you know a place really exists until you’ve been there?

After leaving the ashram on Paradise Island I flew from Nassau to Miami where I overnighted in a hotel in Coral Gables, The City Beautiful.The hotel was full of immigrant men from South and Southeast Asia waiting to start their jobs as “crew.” I assumed that meant for the cruise ships but I didn’t get a chance to find out.

Next morning I was on a bus heading here, to the city of Mardi Gras and Katrina, a place that makes me think of movies I loved growing up: Easy Rider, Angel Heart, The Big Easy Along the way we stopped in all kinds of wacky places. Ask me about Tallahassee sometime.

After arriving in the early dawn to a sun rising on the magnificent Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that traverses Lake Pontchartrain I grabbed a taxi outside the Greyhound Station and headed for this fabulously historic B&B, Terrel House.

This is the Deep South. What I came here to experience. And I am. The Bush-hatin’ cabbie I flagged told me it never used to be this hot in New Orleans but it was getting hotter all the time because the Bible said it would. A kid serving me in a grocery store called me Ma’am. Much of the architecture in this city recalls days when parasols and fans would have been used to survive the heat. Now air-conditioning is ever-present everywhere.

I’ve got it turned off. I came to experience the heat, too.

For two days I will soak up what I can. Everyone has said, “Go to the French Quarter.” I’m more curious about Katrina’s scars and Treme but I’m just going to see where the wind (proverbial — it’s dead still) takes me.

Thunder is rumbling in close skies and a train is bleating it’s horn in the near distance. The fountain in the courtyard outside this carriage-house room is gurgling away. I’ve got the door wide open. Even if that cabbie was right I’m gonna embrace it.

Inspiring Message of the Day:
O to be Alive in this Great World!  The Wonders of Humanity and Nature, cruel and kind, bitter and sweet, so rich, so abundant, so jaw-droppingly awesome! Let our hearts sing with thanks.