22 November 2005

Meg and Her Red Cape

The following post is borrowed, with permission of the author (of course) from corknola.blogspot.com. I thought it was a good read about the spirit of the New Orleans pioneer.

Missing New Orleans,

Al Scramuzza
Seafood City (Very Pretty)
1926 North Broad

Meg is great. If you know Meg you no doubt agree with me, if you haven’t the first idea who Meg is just trust me on this one. She is great. Meg is the only realistic idealist I know, she slyly draws you into deep conversations, always brings up points you’d never consider and she is a downright pleasure to be around. Meg believes in New Orleans and puts that practice to work. In fact she makes her living on that thought. Even before the Hurricane, she wanted the city of New Orleans to be a fully renovated glory of its former self, she longs for the history of days long gone, but she also understands we live in the real world. She is an urban pioneer, renovates historically significant homes next door to crack houses and refuses to let the adversity of city living make her quit. Her front door, inner door and living room wall is marked by an errant bullet from a neighborhood barroom brawl which claimed a life under her living room window. The bullet holes still stand as some sort of testament to her internal fortitude and devotion to the living history of New Orleans and she has NO PLAN to move out. Some people would say Meg is crazy. I think she is cool. I get it. I get what makes her tick. She’s a hard lady to knock down.

I drove Meg through the city Monday two weeks after Katrina and let her visit her Treme home. I quit counting the “Oh my’s” the “Oh no’s” and the plain old gasps. We drove the blocks in Treme and Mid City and Meg’s head was on a swivel, not knowing which direction to look in next. Somehow, though, you knew this wasn't stopping her. She knew EVERY house in her neighborhood and almost spoke to them as if they were people. When we stopped by the Pitot House to assess the damage there it was as if she was checking in on an old friend. She loves her neighborhood and she loves New Orleans. When we were driving back to Baton Rouge on Monday and we realized the threat of Hurricane Rita was becoming obvious instead of saying “Woe is us” Meg got on the horn with a Climatologist buddy of hers and figured out what this storm was going to do and how to prepare for it.

The other day I received an email from a distraught friend who has been exiled to Chicago lamenting the fact that there will be no more New Orleans. I disagree. I disagree because New Orleans has Meg. Meg for one is back with a broom and a mop and a hammer and a smile. New Orleans is a very lucky city to have so many of the Megs of the world living in it and loving it. Take comfort in that fact. So long as everyone has a bit of Meg in them this city will be fine. And, no, it won’t become a modern suburban nightmare. It will look like New Orleans. That’s if Meg has anything to do with it


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