Today is Earth Day 2014 and my arrival back to the city from California could not have been better timed.
The city's aged elegance never dims, for all who see her as she is--a timeless beauty.
New Orleans is still recovering from Katrina's wrath, but it has survived in the best possible manner...with amazing fortitude and graceful dignity.
I have fallen in love with New Orleans as a 50 year old woman. In my youth, what I did see is not even worth mentioning: the echoes of discrimination and the city's internal power struggles. And also perhaps as a young woman, I was just eager to experience far away cities.
Take the time to see me as I truly am, New Orleans whispered...and I listened.
It's wonderful seeing the busy construction on St. Charles Avenue where street cars will once again carry tourists along with residents. The city improvements have steadily increased, more repair and renovation of transportation methods have directly affected the economy.
The differences between 2011 and 2014 are major. Earth Day 2014 celebrates the result of hard working people and local agencies, such as the U.S. Green Building Council; Bike Easy; Friends of the Lafitte Corridor; KidsWalk Coalition at Tulane University; Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development; Merritt C. Becker Jr. Transportation Institute at the University of New Orleans; Stay Local/Urban Conservancy; Ride New Orleans; Sierra Club; and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association.
New Orleans residents have overcome the worse and are ready for a marvelous future. From the completion of a new airport terminal in 2018 to "Reinventing The Crescent," where riverfront properties will be designed for public recreational use--this city is moving forward and paced to meet the demands of the next century.
So, my time spent walking gorgeous avenues and hidden residential streets while joyously saying "hello" or "good afternoon" to all I saw these last few weeks was in my opinion, kismet. Just meant to be.
Springtime in New Orleans is absolutely delightful! But, the reality is, it's the people of New Orleans who showcase the beautiful architecture, interiors and gardens. Daily, tourists see and experience this uniquely "indescribable" charming hospitality. This is a city where people look you in the eye. Your facial expressions are noted. You can be yourself, without hiding your truth.
It's a city located in an old realm which comforts the souls of the artistic and those most different.
New Orleans has done well with what it has...marvelous green spaces which are being rehabilitated and re-appreciated. Earth Day is part of the celebration of the city becoming greener and more conscious of the environment. And today, I have been welcomed back with open arms. Hello, New Orleans!