I've just discovered that I'll be going to New Orleans to attend a conference for my work in the Spring. I've always wanted to go to New Orleans, and I almost made it there in September of 2005, but Katrina interfered with those plans. Michael and I had planned to spend our honeymoon in NOLA, and we were so looking forward to it. Since both of us are great lovers of jazz, it seemed like the perfect destination and a great location to begin our marriage. Little did we know at the time we made those arrangements what horrific circumstances would keep us from journeying there.
But now, we have a second chance. Since I'll be attending a conference for three days right in the middle of the French Quarter, I'll be able to spend time visiting the jazz clubs and places I've always dreamed of seeing in person. But Michael and I have a bigger goal in mind. We will be taking a few extra days off of work to stay in New Orleans and will be volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to work on the Musicians' Village located in the Upper Ninth Ward. Like so many others, we fear that Katrina has scattered the musical greats of the jazz world to the winds. With the unknown fate of so many, the chances of that culture being diluted and so much knowledge lost is frightening. We feel that there's no option here...that culture MUST be preserved, and that is why the Musicians' Village is so important. It will bring back the geniuses of the jazz genre into a setting so that the culture, the music, may be taught, preserved and studied for decades to come. It gives that hope a leg on which to stand. Our hope is that it will do more than that.
So, for part of our visit, we will be working as much as possible on this crucial project. In reality, we know that we can only be there for a few days, and that in the grand scheme of things, our contribution is such a small one. But a lot of steps eventually build to a mile, to two, to ten. Perhaps if all of us contributed one or two or three days, we would reach our ultimate goal.
If you would like more information on volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans or other locations, please visit their website at www.habitat.org.
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