Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Excitement and Sorrows in the "Big Easy"

I'm finishing out my stop in New Orleans for my work trip and I've seen some amazing things. I've had some amazing food, drinks, and life experiences here.

Last night, I went to Bourbon Street to partake in the usual social gatherings. The street was alive, even for a Monday evening during school time. I couldn't believe how many people were out and about, but then I remembered this is a historic time for New Orleans. This past Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of Hurrican Katrina rocking this metropolitan area. There were ceremonies, television broadcasts, and celebrations of how far everyone has come. At each neon light, there would be a certain flaire only that part of New Orleans could give. Whether it was oysters, specialty drinks, or the famous gumbo, each place had a new experience to share. As I'm walking down the street, I am in awe of the lifestyle. So we all danced, had some drinks, and then headed back to the hotel to sleep it all off. I've been getting more involved in Snapchat so you can see my night if you follow themigrainechef there.

Today, I went for a stroll in the other tourist locations. Jazz Park had vibrant music filling the air. I loved the energy that was being given with each musician. Street performers working hard for their tips at each corner. Endless shops, restaurants, and tourist tours in every place you'd look. Of course I got some New Orleans French Quarter shot glasses to add to my collection from my travels (and two for my besties). Everything is just a walk away!

As I'm heading back to my hotel, I stop at a popular restaurant to grab a quick bite. At that location, I witnessed something that really made me think. A gentleman who appeared to be homeless comes inside. He has a brown bag in his pocket, which is more than likely alcohol. Most establishments will not allow outside beverages inside, especially if they do not sell alcohol. I couldn't hear what started the fighting, but he was told to leave. He kept shouting, "you're wrong!" to the manager who was trying to protect her business and patrons. Some patrons stepped in before the man could get physical with her, which was very fortunate. He was shouting, she was shouting, and my heart sank. He kept yelling phrases that didn't make sense and he kept trying to enter the restaurant. Another homeless man was sitting inside with the same situation. Although he never shouted, in fact, he never moved. He was lethargic and motionless, even when she asked him to leave.

Now this situation was scary to see as a bystander, but it also got me right in the feels. Those two men have some kind of dark, personal demons going on. Whatever the situation, they have scars you cannot see on the surface. It's not just that location, either. Everywhere you turn, there's a human being who has a similar situation happening to them. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, or loss of all they hold dear, these people are hurting. Now I haven't done much research on homelessness, but today is a good day to start. Just thinking about how many broken pieces in them need mending makes me tear up.

So I ask you all: what can we do to help? What resources are available to these guys to make sure their quality of life is at the same level of someone more fortunate? Why is this happening? How did this occur and who can stop it?

So many questions I want to try to answer. Until next time...