As Heather and I have returned to playing in New Orleans over the past few weeks, it's been interesting to have the conversations we've been having. Most of the clientele at the Bombay Club are locals New Orleanians, and the admiration that we've heard from them toward Mississippi and its efforts to rebuild has been staggering.
When we first started telling our friends in the Big Easy that we were going to move out of the city (about a year ago) the reactions we got were so negative. "You're kidding, right?" "Well, guess you won't be needing your shoes," "I wouldn't go there. ... They've got a slave mentality over there!" Since we had family here (and since Heather basically lived here every summer of her childhood) we weren't biased by these mistaken stereotypes of Mississippi.
However, the talk in New Orleans has changed dramatically since the storm. For one thing, people commiserate, and share their sympathies, since they know we took a worse storm hit. But more and more they express their admiration for the spirit of the people of Mississippi. They are impressed by the help that Mississippians are giving each other, their generosity in sharing relief supplies, and especially the governor's efforts at reconstruction and re-envisioning the Mississippi coast.
They are politely jealous of the apparent strength of leadership, the quickness of restoration of services and the hope for the future (near and far reaching) that they are seeing out of their unfairly maligned neighbors. It's interesting for us, too, since in many ways we are still tied to New Orleans. ... Our band performs there every week, just as we have for the past 3 years. We still have lots of friends, fans and fellow musicians in the Crescent City (though, fewer than before the storm) and we are still proud to be a part of New Orleans and its rebuilding. However, more and more we take greater and greater pride in telling our New Orleans friends "Yes, we live in
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