New Orleans, I Haven’t Forgotten

I still move to the beat of your drum. Forever missing your presence. I remember how you were home, the place that laid the foundation for me to be able to take the journey I’ve been on. You’ve molded me into the worldly woman I’ve become.

The big easy is what some call you so I guess it’s no surprise that I also have that easygoing spirit, freely flowing from place to place.

Sitting on Big Mama’s Porch

I’ve been on a long journey.

Unique, beautiful, creative, spontaneous, flavourful, strong and unbreakable are some of the words that come to mind when people ask me to describe you.

You are one of a kind.

A small city, yet many from around the globe have felt the powerful vibes of New Orleans. They usually know about Mardi Gras, Essence Festival , creole food, jazz and the French Quarters. All great. Don’t get me wrong. But those of us from there know there’s more, way more.

I haven’t forgotten my family. The ones who loved me, protected me and raised me on Pailet Street in Harvey, Louisiana. The feeling of sitting with my family at big momma house on the porch. People watching, laughing at old times, eating good food.

I haven’t forgotten the fellowship. Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church. Pastor Brooks always letting me know I was a blessed child.

I haven’t forgotten the days with my cousins. Jamaal, Dej and Sean. My best friends who taught me the the true meaning of loyalty. If anyone had an issue with one of us they had issues with all of us.

I haven’t forgotten everyone from Big Mama, Uncle Duke, Auntie Marva, my grandpa George and so many more allowing me to dribble my ball all day up and down Pailet Street.

I haven’t forgotten my grandpa George and my grandma Angelina investing in every part of me with love and care.

I haven’t forgotten my mother Tracy, a single parent, doing double the work to make sure that I became the best version of myself. All those nights she spent praying. The nights she spent in my room, slapping all that Holy Oil my head as she prayed for my protection and guidance. The thing that she taught me how to pray and to never rely on her or anyone else because we’re all human. But to rely on The Source.

I remember all the times I spent with family. The Garrisons. The Jacksons. The Rankins. The Davises. I thank you. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you all played a major part in raising me.

I remember my basketball family. Lady Pride, my AAU team who taught me the game the right way from the jump. Before any skill training you taught the importance of having pride for this game, taught me how to fight for my teammates, how to be selfless and work together towards a common goal. How to persevere. You believed in me before I could even dribble the ball two times without traveling. You took me from the B team that consisted of 4 people and decided to give me a chance to grow when I was so behind everyone else. I’m so grateful that my journey with this beautiful game started with you. Tray, Jamie, Krystal, Rhonda, and others…thank y’all for being my sisters. To Mrs. Linda and Karen, thank you for feeding me and taking care of me as if I was one of your own when my family needed help.

And just when I thought New Orleans would be forever home? Things shifted. I never wanted to leave. In eighth grade I left Truman Middle School and crossed the pond to start high school in London. Not what I had in plan but it was God’s Plan for us.

I was heartbroken. Devastated. I did the best I could. I repped New Orleans. Hard. And then it was time to go back to the U.S. But it wasn’t you I would be returning to, it was upstate New York, Rochester.

When Katrina hit you, I felt guilty that I wasn’t there with you. But I felt your pain. I still cried with you and for you. I experienced the good with you so I should have been by your side to experience the bad too right?

It was confusing at times to understand why my journey had taken this route. But God’s plan for me can never be questioned. Starting my journey with you was so imperative. You continue to evolve, you continue to change. But you always maintain your core and uniqueness and character.

And I’ve learned that despite my journeys and having to change and relocate and evolve, I can maintain my foundation. That young West Bank, New Orleans girl who was a dreamer, caring, lover of food, family oriented, outgoing, loving, who loved the simple things…all things you taught me.

So this is for you New Orleans and all the people that played a major part in my life. I may traveled around the world but I started with you. You are and will always be home. I am yours and you are mine.

So many people in New Orleans have touched my life and I know a lot of us haven’t talked in a while but just know that I haven’t forgotten you even if you may have forgotten me. I will always carry all of you in my heart no matter where I may be in the world.

I haven’t forgotten you New Orleans.

Thank you.

*** Always want to hear your thoughts and experiences too. Feel free to leave a comment below or to hit me up on IG or Twitter. It’s all about sharing and building a community. ***

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