Monthly Archives: August 2014

Post Katrina Musings- I never plan on doing these.

   
This isn’t a Katrina story per se, but it does represent a time of uncertainty in my life in the months immediately after the storm. I didn’t intend to post a Katrina memorial; I wrote this piece as a writing exercise for class based on Kathleen Hill’s work Forgiveness. (We had to start with “It happened.”) I thought it would be quasi appropriate to share. Love it or hate it, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Blind Dates in the Desert
       It happened inside the Starbucks on Scottsdale Road. I sat down with last month’s National Geographic and a coffee that cost as much as my used Honda. I was new to town, a New Orleans gal that felt about as comfortable in the desert as an alligator. My husband and I moved to the Phoenix suburb a few weeks after we evacuated for Hurricane Katrina.

     We decided to start somewhere new instead of taking a chance on my water logged hometown. Prior to the move, we had only spent time in Flagstaff, Arizona, Scottsdale’s patchouli laden, hiking boot wearing Northern cousin. Snottsdale, as the locals called it, wore stiletto heels and Chanel No. 5. Her boyfriend drove a Hummer and wore sunglasses at night.
     As I sipped on my caramel mocha latte, the couple sitting across from us piqued my curiosity. They were clearly on a blind date, and judging by the reverse magnetism of their body language, sparks weren’t flying.
     “So,” he asked her, readjusting his glasses to the bridge of his nose. “Do you have a carport or a garage?”
     “I have a garage.” she said, uncrossing her arms just long enough to push her long blonde mane out of her face.
     “Oh, that’s really nice.” he replied, even more unsure of himself than before. They sat in awkward silence, anxiously waiting for a connection. Something. Anything.
     “You?” She asked.
     “I have a carport.”
     “Oh, I used to have a carport, but now I have a garage. I like them both!” she feigned a modicum of excitement, the conversational equivalent of shoving your feet into a pair of shoes that are two sizes too small.
     I leaned over to my husband, who was wrapped up in Nietzsche. “This is so painfully awkward. Are you listening to this?”
     “Trying to.” he admitted.
     “They must be on a blind date.”
     “They’re so boring.”
     “So what does that make us?”
     “Judgmental and petty, because we have nothing better to do.”
     “Well, yeah, that’s true.” I said, looking out the window at the dusty red mountains that loomed in the distance.
     “I can guarantee that neither of them are getting laid tonight, at least not by each other.”
     “Yea, that’s for sure.”
     “What’s wrong with us, judging people like that?
     “Eh, it’s entertaining.” he said, and we both went back to reading.

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Worth The Drive: Jean Lafitte National Park

The last time I made it out to Jean Lafitte National Park was in April. I grew up in the area, with the swamp butting up against our house. Armadillos frequently tunneled into our backyard and if we stood atop the levee we’d find gator eyes staring back at us. Going outside after dusk during the summer was crossing enemy lines, diving head first into a mosquito combat zone. I remember my family went to an outdoor performance of Camelot at Loyola University once, and my adolescent, humidity soaked brain couldn’t comphrend that one could sit in the city at 8:00pm and not be eaten alive by the little blood suckers. When you live next to the swamp, bugs are just a way of life. 

My mom still lives near my childhood home, and once in a while I like to stroll through Jean Lafitte when I’m on that side of the river. I know a lot of people are squeamish when it comes to reptiles and insects (minus the mosquitoes), but I look forward to these encounters. I spotted a rat snake, two alligators, a handful of banana spiders and an unending supply of katydids on my last trip. That said, I’ll jump through the ceiling if I see a cockroach in my kitchen. Hey, even this tomboy from Southern Louisiana is allowed to have her buggy fears, right?

More pictures on my Tumblr: christylorio.tumblr.com

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Valence Cemetery

Valence Cemetery
Valence Cemetery
I drive by the Valence Cemetery fairly often but I’ve never stopped by until a few days ago. I always thought it was weird to hang out in a graveyard, even in my woe-is-me goth phase. In New Orleans neighborhoods are littered with these smaller graveyards that are often overshadowed by their grander, more famous counterparts such as the St. Louis Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery. Sadly, the Valence Cemetery, established in 1867, is neglected. Weeds and overgrown grass have taken over the walkways and encroach on the final resting places of the deceased. While these smaller sites desperately need someone to maintain them, I’ll take the solitude of a dilapidated cemetery over throngs of tourists taking selfies next to tombstones any day.
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