N is for New Orleans- #AtoZChallenge

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“N” is for New Orleans, a city like no other. It’s one of my all time favorite places to visit. I first started going to New Orleans back in 1978-79.

I was in the Ocean Marine Technology Program at Brazosport College. It was a 2 year program where I would be able to earn my AB and QMED certificates from the Coast Guard. One of the things we had to do was to take fire-fighting training. We also had to take a ‘Spring Cruise”. We combined them and took a couple of boats up to Delgado Community College in New Orleans to take their fire-fighting course.

That’s me, 2nd from left, back row

I was 17 at the time and the youngest in class. We had a nice and easy trip up, the weather was fine and we all got to practice our celestial navigation skills. We all looked forward to seeing New Orleans and we were not disappointed. We all had a blast and will always remember getting underway bright and early after a late night out on Bourbon Street. 😉

I used to go home to Florida to visit family a couple of times a year and always stopped in New Orleans if I could. I liked to hang around the French Quarter and recharge my batteries for a day. Maybe longer if I met up with some ‘cool’ people. 😉

Years later, when I got older and had to slow down on the partying, I started to enjoy more of the city than Bourbon Street. I’ve gone for conferencesworkshops and training, and layovers for traveling to and from work offshore. I always try to spend a little extra time just to relax and enjoy the city.

It’s so easy. New Orleans has it’s own special vibe. They say it’s got “soul”. Yeah, I agree. It feels sultry, hot and humid most of the time. It almost oozes history. You can see it in the architecture all over the French Quarter. It smells delicious. Chicory coffee, beignets, seafood gumbo, salty oysters, and boozy concoctions around Bourbon Street.

The food is amazing! Classic French, Creole, Cajun and all combinations thereof. Soul food, muffaletas, po-boys, fresh seafood, fine steaks, you can get all that and more. Some of the best cooks in the world call New Orleans home.

New Orleans is a city of music. Jazz, Cajun, Creole, Rock, Soul, Blues, it’s all there. All over the place. I love wandering around the French Quarter, finding musicians playing out in the streets. You can almost always find some around Jackson Square or Royal Street. Then there are the second line parades. It’s always fun to join in the party. Where else can you get that?

New Orleans has so many parades, parties and festivals. I love it! I wonder if I would ever get anything done if I actually lived there? 😉

Songs of the Sea: Sloop John B- the Beach Boys

Here’s another oldie but goodie. I always liked this song. I even learned how to play it on the guitar (but have forgotten since). I miss those days, hanging out after class with my friends in the OMT (Ocean Marine Technology) program.

We used to have a blast! We would go to classes and learn all about how to run a boat. Some days we even got to go out on one to practice all the things we learned in class.

On the weekends we would go down to the beach and have a big bonfire. We’d roast hot dogs and marshmallows. We’d play guitars and sing and camp out overnight sometimes.

I miss doing that sort of thing. All my friends from school moved away (or just got older and gave up all that kind of thing). I forgot how to play guitar. 😦

Anyway, here’s the song. If you want to know more about it, I found a good link (here). It’s got a lot of interesting stuff on there. 🙂

I’m heading home (from Korea) in the morning. I hope things won’t be so hectic and I’ll be able to catch up with things on here soon. 😉

A Recipe for Community

A Recipe for Community.

Here’s another one from Utne Reader. Linda Buzzell writes about what it takes to build a sustainable community. Community- yeah, she’s right, we need it, we yearn for it, we miss it, we seek it out.

I remember growing up in a little fishing village on the beach in Florida. We used to have a real community there. Everybody knew each other and would keep an eye out for each other. Yeah, it was like a soap opera sometimes. But I always knew I was home, I fit in, I was accepted.

I moved to Texas when I was just barely 17. I didn’t know a single person. I moved there to go to school and luckily I found a community in my little group of fellow OMT students (Ocean Marine Technology).

We most definitely did NOT fit in with the rest of the school or the surrounding towns. 😉 Bunch of hippie ‘boat trash’ with long hair, shorts and flip-flops in a town where no one left the house without perfect makeup, new cars all washed and waxed. We were definitely on our own.

I made friends with the only other girl in the class. She took me to meet her ‘mother’ and we’ve been best friends ever since. That was over 30 years ago- wow!

With my friends from class, we went to the beach and had cookouts over the bonfire. We played music. We drank beer. We danced. We hung out with each other even when we weren’t in class. We had many similar interests. After all, we had come from all over the country to take this course in Ocean Marine Technology. We had an automatic community.

When I finished the program, most of my friends wandered off into the wild blue yonder and I never heard from them again. Only occasionally I’ll hear of someone or run into somebody in some unlikely place.

Since then, I’ve tried a few times to find or create another real community. I think I find it most easily at work. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy working at sea. After all, we are still isolated out here. In our own little world. We have to depend on each other for everything. To get our work done, to have someone to talk to, to help us if we need it, to take care of us if we get hurt. We get to know and care about each other. It is a community in its own right.

In the article, there’s a checklist for community building success. A list of 16 things to do or have. I think a lot of the things are good to have and I’ll definitely suggest them to our local meetup group (Campaign for Liberty). We’ve been struggling to grow and find more members.

We’re a community, we do a lot of those things, but maybe not consistent about it. Somehow we can’t keep the new people who come excited enough to come back, to join our community. What can we do to make them more comfortable? Maybe the things in the article will help. We can try…