Nine Years Since… (Reblog on the 12th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina)

On this date that marks the twelfth year since Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of New Orleans (NOLA), it’s difficult to look at images of Texas under water without thinking about NOLA. My knowing that people are displaced (again) and have lost homes (again) and that their lives will be changed (again) does more than pull at my heart strings. This knowledge conjures all the feelings of Post-Katrina New Orleans that I want to avoid. I keep turning away, forcing my gaze away from the images and the stories. But. It’s important that we look. It’s necessary that we feel. It’s imperative that we do something to help.

Lives are affected in more ways than many can imagine and will be for some time. If those of us who were living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina still feel its effects 12 years later, it’s not hard to comprehend the shock and trauma of those who are going through the ordeal at this moment.

Pics and Posts

I’ve been slightly agitated all week long, with “something” gnawing just beneath the surface.  I couldn’t figure the cause of my mental discomfort till late last night when the date “August 29th” hit  me.  August 29th.  August 29th.  Nine years ago, I woke up in my sister’s home in Lithonia, Georgia to discover that just as we all breathed a sigh of relief thinking NOLA had been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina, the flood protection walls breached.  With that break, so many things in my life changed all at once, and I found myself vacillating between moments of hopefulness and moments of helplessness.  My husband and I did not lose our home, but we lost so much more than that, and in some ways, I am still dealing with those losses today.

I realized recently that I’m a slow griever.  Grief ekes out slowly, laboriously, as I feel I have time to “handle” unpleasant and difficult…

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Soaring Like a Mountain Eagle

Eagle’s Wings: Photo captured at Brechtel Park in Algiers (Westbank New Orleans, Louisiana), 2011

…and there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he forever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than the other birds upon the plain, even though they soar. –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Photo Magic: Exploiting the Possibilities

I’ve been playing around with photos more than usual lately, altering them in PhotoShop and iPhone apps.  I love putting them through multiple processes just to see what evolves.  My selections for Liberate Your Art 2017 came out of such photo-play.

The postcards I sent began as a purple orchid and a pink coneflower.  Both were captured at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in late January–a blog post for another time.

Here’s the orchid–original and altered.

Purple Orchid, Original New Orleans Botanical Gardens, 2017

Magical Orchid, 2017

The orchids were protected in an enclosed, temperature-controlled space. However, the coneflower survived outdoors despite the winter weather.  It offered one of the few glimpses of color in the Garden that cold January afternoon.

“Coneflower,” Original, New Orleans Botanical Gardens, January 2017

I “transformed” the coneflower in many ways and couldn’t decide which to choose for LYA, so I decided to have all of them printed as postcards.  I selected randomly for the swap.  Here’s a peek at 10 of the 15 edits.

“Coneflower Magic,” 2017, Collage Made with PicsArt

Even though I struggled (as usual) with selecting photos for LYA, I chose these not because they represent my best work but because I had so much fun with them.  Since so many things have been so serious and heavy this year, I wanted to share lighthearted images.

A photograph can be naturally beautiful, flawless even, but there’s still something liberating about exploiting the possibilities of it.

(Monochrome) Photo Play: Water, Light, and Fairies

I’m baaaaack with another monochrome photos post.  I can hardly believe the last monochrome post, “Animals in Monochrome,” was in January. I didn’t realize how much time had gone by.

I attempted a “Water in Monochrome” swap earlier in the year, but there were no takers, so I was pleased as punch when my penfriend Beckra joined the “A Thousand Words” group on swap-bot and joined the swap when I “re-created” it in September.  She had been experimenting with shooting water in black and white, so the swap was perfect for her.

Beckra shared two photos which exhibit her photographic interactions with water and light. Both photos were shot at her happy place, the creek at Woolly Hollow State Park.

“Writing on the Water,” Creek at Woolly Hollow State Park, by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

This first photo was captured “close, close, close-up” while wading and crouching in the creek. Beckra writes that it “seems like the light is writing on the water in a kind of cursive.”  Interestingly, it also looks like a fire dance.

For the second photo, she had been trying to capture the “starlike glints” on the water and was pleased to find this photo did not disappoint.

“Starry Creek,” Creek at Woolly Hollow State Park, by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

Although the next photo was not part of the swap, it is a “water in black and white” photo and it completes a perfect trilogy of abstract water photos.

“May Moontrail” by Rebecca R. (swap-bot: Beckra)

Beckra sent this one at the beginning of summer break, a moon trail on the lake. She followed the bright moon to the water and was able to capture this reflection, a beautiful “luxury of the summer.”

The guys and I found different places to experience nature and we were overjoyed to find some hangouts near or on water.  Being a Westbank NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) girl, I feel a little lost sometimes not having the Mississippi River down the street from me.

I sent four photos, two from summer and two older photos because I am sort of proud of the monochrome renderings.

Wheeler Lake in Black and White

Wheeler Lake in Black and White, iPhone Photo, 2016

This photo is from Wheeler Lake, which is located between Rogersville and Huntsville in Northern Alabama. The lake was formed by a dam along the Tennessee River. Although part of a popular tourist spot, we were among very, very few people in the area we explored.

Here’s another favorite shot from Wheeler Lake park:

Wheeler Lake Park, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

“Where Fairies Play,” Wheeler Lake Park, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

Although flawed, this one was fun to work with because I had to remove a HUGE orange garbage can from the shot.  For some reason, it reminds me of a place where fairies play.  I think I read one too many medieval romances last month.

Ditto Landing marina, described as “Huntsville, Alabama’s gateway to the Tennessee River,” is my new favorite spot.  We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area and are looking forward to returning soon. You can learn the history of Ditto Landing and see gorgeous pics on the website.

The “Closed Bridge” photo featured in Friday’s post was from Ditto Landing. Here’s the original photo.

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Original

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Original

And a favorite edit:

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, edited in Snapseed

Closed Bridge, Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, edited in Snapseed

Here’s another one of my favorite photos from Ditto Landing–a nice balance between air, trees, water, and land.  There’s so much more to explore I can’t wait to go back.

“Balance and Order,” Ditto Landing, Huntsville, Alabama, 2016

As mentioned, I also sent two older photos: a sepia photo of from “The Fly” at Audubon Park, featured earlier this year in one of the nature photo challenge blog posts, and a photo of waves crashing against the rocks (was it mountains?) in Maui.  Although I “heart” the original photo, I couldn’t resist the purple.

The Purple Wave, Maui

That’s it for now.  Until next time…I’ll be riding the purple wave…

Postcards for Me and One for You Too!

I have postcards everywhere. On my desk. In my notebooks. On my walls. In my crafting spaces. On my bookshelves. In albums. Even on my nightstand. We won’t talk about the very large box and shelves filled with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of blank postcards waiting to be sent.  I’m presently looking at the mini stack of postcards I received in March, particularly the selected-based-on-my-interests postcards I found in my mailbox last week.

In honor of my love for history…

Scituate Light (Cedar Point), Scituate, MA. A historic light of the War of 1812. The lighthouse is located at the entrance to the harbor and offers a beautiful view of the coast and harbor. From Marissa477 on swap-bot.

And my love for books…

“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” –Carl Sagan. From ShyAnn64 on swap-bot.

And bookish art…

“The Reader,” by W.L. Ramsey from developpeople on swap-bot.

And photography…

George Eastman House, Rochester, New York

And literature…

William Butler Yeats from MJBCoffee on swap-bot

And my favorite place in the world, home…

New Orleans!

New Orleans! from Lazycrochet, who just moved to New Iberia, Louisiana 7 months ago.

And random, “just because” postcards…

Pretty Thank You Note (c) ME, Teachers Pay Teachers. This is the front of the postcard sent by developpeople.

And while I try to figure out what to do with my ever-growing postcard collection, it’s time I send a certain set of postcards out in the mail.

Way back in October 2015, I won a swap-bot giveaway.  Here’s the generous collection of swag put together by one of swap-bot’s founders, Rachel Johnson.

Swap-bot 10th Anniverary Giveaway.

Swap-bot 10th Anniverary Giveaway.

"Swap-bot Swag"

“Swap-bot Swag”

Pencils. Postcards. Stickers. Buttons. Magnets. Enough to make one swoon.

I could share this cute Ernie (the Envie) goodness with other swap-bot members, but I decided to use it to lure…ehem…encourage others, to join the snail mail revolution via swap-bot.

I “discovered” swap-bot almost six years ago when I mistakenly clicked a link that popped up on a website I was visiting.  I hesitated before joining, but I was intrigued by the possibility of regular “real” mail in my mailbox! I clearly remember my first swap–an electronic playlist–and my first Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap.  I signed up when I didn’t even know anything about ATCs.  Pretty soon, I was involved in one creative swap after another, and I was completely hooked and addicted to snail mail.

Maybe, you’ll get hooked on snail mail too. If you comment below with your contact information or email address, I will send you a postcard, written on and stamped. OR–you can contact me at iamnnyla at gmail dot com.  I’ll send postcards until the swap-bot postcards are gone.

Don’t you want a little happy in your mailbox?

Nature Photo Challenge: Fun with “The Fly”

The Mighty Mississippi, March 2012, New Orleans

“The Muddy Mississippi,” March 2012, New Orleans

Did you expect an up close and personal photo of an insect? Sorry to disappoint. 😀

I captured today’s nature photo at “The Fly” on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon just before the “official” beginning of spring–almost four years ago.

“The Fly,” formally known as “The Riverview,” is the waterfront part of Audubon Park in New Orleans, located behind the Audubon Zoo.  It’s a great place for small gatherings, hanging out, and casual walks.

I played with the photo a bit in PhotoShop and in various iPhone apps.

Here are some of my monochrome favorites:

Mississippi River

“The Muddy Mississippi in Black and White,” New Orleans, March 2012

Purple

“The Muddy Mississippi in Purple,” New Orleans, March 2012

The Fly Dark Sepia

“The Muddy Mississippi in Sepia,” New Orleans, March 2012

I love water and trees, so this nature scene was a given.

Interested in other photos I’ve shared for the nature photo challenge?  Click on the links below (or use the previous post button a few times):

Tune in tomorrow for Day 6’s post.

Ciao!

There’s Just Something About New Orleans: Vintage New Orleans Postcards

A few days ago, I received the latest vintage New Orleans postcard to add to my “vintage NOLA” collection.  I’ve received at least a dozen over the last couple of years via swap-bot swappers.

The linen postcards which follow measure approximately 3.5 x 5.5 inches. None of the postcards bear dates, so I can only judge the printing date by the postal instructions: “Place one cent stamp here.”  The cost to mail a postcard was one cent from 1898 to 1917, which means most of the postcards were printed during this period.

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

Like this one, each bears the line, “New Orleans–America’s Most Interesting City” on the back. Forgive my bias, but  I couldn’t agree more.

Courtyard, Little Theatre 616 St. Peter

Courtyard, Little Theatre, 616 St. Peter, New Orleans

From the postcard back: “Le Petit Theatre du Vieux-Carre” is considered one of the leading Little Theatres of the country.  It occupies the former home and courtyard of Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, the last Spanish Governor of Louisiana.  The courtyard is one of the most beautiful in the city.

Here’s another view of the Little Theatre Courtyard:

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans

Here’s one of the iron lacework so popular in the French Quarter:

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

From the postcard back: These delicate lacework patterns in wrong and cast iron, characteristic of the Vieux Carre give the quarter of New Orleans its atmosphere of old France and Old Spain.

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St.Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St. Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  Jackson Square, originally known as Place D’Armes is a monument to Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, whose funds built the St. Louis Cathedral in 1794, and Pontalba Apartments, flanking the Square.  The building to the left of the religious edifice is the Cabildo, best known monument to the age of Spanish domination, and storehouse of historic treasures.  The building on the right of the church is the Presbytere, housing the Natural Science Division of the Louisiana State Museum.  In the center of the square is the Jackson Monument unveiled in 1856. Jackson Square has been well-preserved and is under excellent care.

Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, Louisiana

Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pirate’s Alley extends for one block from Royal Street to Chartres Street. Through this alleyway pirates were taken to the Cabildo Jail.  It is also known as Old Orleans Alley and separates the Cabildo from Old St. Louis Cathedral.

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Old Absinthe House is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans’ internationally famous Vieux Carre and was the headquarters, during the latter part of the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries, of Jean Lafitte, the pirate-patriot of whose prowess and wrath volumes have been written.  Today, after the span of three centuries, it is still catering to connoisseurs and discriminating drinkers from every part of the world.

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Napoleon Bonaparte House, situated in the heart of New Orleans’s famous View Carre or French Quarter, is located at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets.  This building was erected with the idea of providing quarters of refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte after the bold plot in which the story says the noted LaFitte band of pirates was involved to kidnap him from exile in St. Helena and bring him to New Orleans.  The plot failed because Napoleon died before it could be executed.

March 2014 Incoming Mail-1-31

Fan Window in Governor Claiborne’s House, Toulouse Street, New Orleans

From the postcard back: In many of the old homes in the Vieux Carre, huge fan windows like this one, the finest n the city, na still be found.  Claiborne, the first American Governor of the territory of Orleans, was nominated on Friday, October 5, 1804.  In 1812 the territory of Orleans became the present state of Louisiana.

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, La.  Accommodating 1000 Guests.  A Dinkler Hotel. Carling Dinkler, Pres.

This postcard depicts the third St. Charles Hotel, built shortly after fire destroyed the second building in 1894.  The first building was also destroyed by fire–in1851.  See here for more information and images of the first two buildings.

Vintage New Orleans-5

Canal Street

From the postcard back: Canal Street, one of the widest, most beautiful, and best lighted streets in the world, is the center of all activities in New Orleans.

Azaeleas in Bloom.  City Park, New Orleans, La.

Azaeleas in Bloom, City Park of New Orleans

From the postcard back: One of the beautiful plantings of azaleas to be found in New Orleans. The city has recently completed a floral trail of over 25 miles in length, making thus one of the most colorful winter garden spots in the United States.

March 2014 Incoming Mail-1-37

Unloading Bananas, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  New Orleans is the world’s greatest banana port.  More than 700 ships arrive each year laded with 25,000 to 50,000 bunches of bananas.  Each individual bunch is carried from the hold of the ship tot he door of the refrigerator on mechanical conveyers.

These last few, though vintage, are a lot more recent than the smaller, brightly colored linen postcards above.

An updated image of Jackson Square:

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

And the Pontalba Apartments:

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pontalba Apartments.  Built in 1850, the two red brick structures on either side of Jackson Square are believed to be the first apartment buildings in the United States.

Vintage New Orleans-4

Bourbon and Bienville, New Orleans

From postcard back: Crossroads of the historic French Quarter.  The corner is also the home of the Absinthe House.  Photo by Don Ceppi.

Vintage New Orleans-3

This postcard features postcard images I remember purchasing many, many moons ago when I was working on a project for my Louisiana History class (in junior high school).  Featured on the postcard are: at The Superdome, Jackson Square, Bourbon and Bienveille, Cafe Du Monde, Bourbon and Bienville signs, The Dickson’s Place, Lace Balconies, Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, St. Charles Street Car, and Aft-Deck Oyster Bar.

Judging by the postcards, the things that made New Orleans dear to the hearts of individuals nearly a century ago are still drawing individuals to the city today.

If these postcards have piqued your interest, take some time to look into the history of these buildings and sites of New Orleans. You will be intrigued.  There’s just something about New Orleans…

I’m not going to lay down in words the lure of this place.  Every great writer in the land, from Faulker to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short.  It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and to try is to roll down a road of cliches, bouncing over beignets and needs and brass bands and it just is what it is–It is home.   –Chris Rose, One Dead in the Attic

 

 

A “Red, White and/or Blue” World: Not a Political Statement

Sometimes, I get a little too busy to share all the goodies that find their way to my mailbox, so on this exciting Saturday night as I get a jumpstart on laundry, I’m stealing a moment to share the beautiful notecards swap-bot Sharp Shooter “Midteacher” sent to me a few weeks ago.  These were sent for a “Red, White and/or Blue” swap hosted by one of the group founders, Lou.  She hosts a color-themed photo swap monthly.

Midteacher

“White Flowers” by Midteacher

Midteacher

“Red Flower” by Midteacher

Raspberries by Midteacher

“Raspberries” by Midteacher

Daisy by Midteacher

“More White Flowers” by Midteacher

Isn’t this a beautiful bundle of cheer to find in a mailbox?  Check out the detail of the raspberries! Midteacher edited the two photos on top in an app.   I love the linen fabric treatment.

I played around in an app with two of the photos I sent to my own partner for the swap.

Blue Dog Sculpture @ Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans City Park

Blue Dog Sculpture @ Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans City Park

Red Dog Sculpture @ Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans City Park

Red Dog Sculpture @ Besthoff Sculpture Garden in New Orleans City Park

You might be familiar with famous Cajun artist George Rodrigue‘s loup-garou, better known as the “Blue Dog.”  There are three of the “dog” sculptures in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Gardens at City Park in New Orleans (there’s also a yellow one). I edited these two in the Waterlogue app which was an obsession several months ago.   I think I like the app because it makes me feel like an artist. 😉

Here’s another of my “Blue Dog” modifications:

"Black and White and Blue All Over"

“Black and White and Blue All Over”

Only the dog kept his color.  These photos were shot three+ years ago. Frankly, I’m not crazy about any of “dog” photos–original or modified.  If I were to capture them again, I’m sure I’d take a completely different approach.

What’s red, white and/or blue in your world?

Nine Years Since…

I’ve been slightly agitated all week long, with “something” gnawing just beneath the surface.  I couldn’t figure the cause of my mental discomfort till late last night when the date “August 29th” hit  me.  August 29th.  August 29th.  Nine years ago, I woke up in my sister’s home in Lithonia, Georgia to discover that just as we all breathed a sigh of relief thinking NOLA had been spared the worst of Hurricane Katrina, the flood protection walls breached.  With that break, so many things in my life changed all at once, and I found myself vacillating between moments of hopefulness and moments of helplessness.  My husband and I did not lose our home, but we lost so much more than that, and in some ways, I am still dealing with those losses today.

I realized recently that I’m a slow griever.  Grief ekes out slowly, laboriously, as I feel I have time to “handle” unpleasant and difficult emotions or the feeling of being out of control.

Typically, I turn away from Katrina and Post-Katrina pictures, but I bought the books and documentaries and captured photos for the time when I will be able to look without turning away.  So today, in an effort to face “head on” some of the raw emotions associated with Hurricane Katrina, I forced myself to look at pictures of homes that I shot a few months after Katrina.  In so doing, I peered into that moment when nature shook everything out of control.  Perhaps, now I can begin to deal with discontinuity and change, not for survival but to live and breathe again.

The photos in this post were all shot December 2005, a few months after the hurricane.  My oldest sister and her oldest daughter (my lovely niece) were visiting from Texas, so we decided to take a drive to view some of the devastation.

In a city like New Orleans, we’re always so careful to lock our doors, particularly just before we leave town.  I imagine the owners of this home, like my husband and I, locked their doors, set the alarm, and left with a few days supply of very casual clothes, fully intending to return to normality days later. Instead, they returned…to salvage what could be salvaged and to have their home gutted…

For me, these images of a home completely displaced from its foundation represents the sudden shift in reality for New Orleanians.  This is how all those first moments and months felt, like some huge thing shifted out of place and repositioned itself where it did not belong.

This next set of houses is a bit more personal–

"2333 Port Street," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“Beyond Repair,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

This was the house of a family I am close to.  On the surface, not so bad. But in reality, thanks to Katrina, broken beyond repair.

The next two images are of my Aunt Rosemary’s house.  She lived directly across the street from my grandmother, so I spent time at her home whenever I visited my grandmother.  Free huck-a-bucks, a scrumptious meal or treat were always waiting along with our simply fun and off-beat conversations about this and that.  Mae-Mae, as she was affectionately known, played the lottery like no one else I’ve ever known.  I remember, once, she showed me a shopping bag full of lottery tickets.  She helped me select my wedding dress.

"My Aunt's House," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“My Aunt’s House,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

She had her home rebuilt. She lived in a “Katrina Trailer” for quite some time while waiting for her home to be rebuilt. It was finished in 2008.  She died suddenly, within months of moving into her newly refurbished home.  I’m sure she was one more casualty of the storm.  More loss.  I remember not crying at her funeral because I was afraid the dam would break and I wouldn’t be able to control the flow.

"Contents from My Aunt's House," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“Contents from My Aunt’s House,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

Nothing in the home was salvageable. Water topped the roof.  Fortunately, she had given my mom the box of old family pictures some time before the storm.  Priceless memories preserved.

This last one cuts deeper than I care to acknowledge.

"My Grandmother's House," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“My Grandmother’s House,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

I can’t even put into words what I feel when I see images of this house that my grandfather built with his own hands 70 years ago, when my mom was just 7 years old.  I’m sure every grandchild did a little growing up in this home.  My grandfather died when I was nine-years-old, so this has always been in my consciousness “my grandmother’s house.”  It was second home to many of us grandchildren and Grandma always had lots of love for us and our ever-growing families.  We typically used the back door to enter the house and loved hanging out on the front porch.  She died a decade before Hurricane Katrina (one of my aunts was living in the home at the time of Katrina).  Water topped the roof.  This house that survived major hurricanes–the Hurricane of 1947 and Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and dodged Hurricanes Camille (1969), Georges (1998), and (our Pre-K warning) Ivan (2004)–fell to Katrina.

"My Grandmother's House," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“My Grandmother’s House,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

I could have fallen to the ground and cried when I saw this.  How CRAZY this seemed to me, at first, how unreal that there would be no more memories made in this place.  Instead, I sucked up the pain, snapped a few photos and moved on.

I began to see my life as preK (pre-Katrina) and postK (post-Katrina).  There’s a bit of fuzziness to my preK memory, probably because I don’t want to look too fondly on or romanticize a time before.  After we moved to Alabama a couple of years ago, I stopped referring to life as preK and postK because only New Orleanians (and those many others directly affected) would truly understand.

Days after the levees broke, I went with one of my closest friends, Tarshia, to a mall in Atlanta where she treated me to a pedicure.  We took a trip to Build-a-Bear where I “built” this bear. Her name is “Trini,” short for Katrina.  I refused to clothe her because I felt Katrina had taken everything from us and left us all exposed.  I left her so.

"Trini," Hurricane Katrina Bear, August 2005

“Trini,” Hurricane Katrina Bear, August 2005

I realized just last night that since Katrina, I’ve been holding my breath.  And every loss since has simply made me inhale a bit more deeply.  Maybe, with this acknowledgement, I can start breathing again…

"Hope for Our Future," New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

“Hope for Our Future,” New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2005

The Happy, Happy Mail Month

June was a “happy mail” kind of month.  I found postcards, letters, photos and other goodies in my mailbox almost every day. I was so spoiled by the month of June that it was with a heavy heart that I left the mailbox empty-handed on the first day of July. Well, there was a bill and a boring car magazine I didn’t ask for.  Today was better and made up for yesterday.  For now, I’ll focus on the goodies that came in June.  Some were sent to me for themed swaps.  Others were sent for random happy mail swaps. Still others were sent “just because…”

"Second Line Jazz Band."  New Orleans musicians perform on street corners.  At funerals and celebrations alike, the audience frequently joins in to "second line, dancing as they follow the jazz band through the streets.  Photo by Werner J. Bertsch

“Second Line Jazz Band.”
New Orleans musicians perform on street corners. At funerals and celebrations alike, the audience frequently joins in to “second line, dancing as they follow the jazz band through the streets. Photo by Werner J. Bertsch

My “baby” sister sent the New Orleans postcard.  She also sent one to my hubby and son. Isn’t she sweet?

While we’re on the subject of “tourist” postcards, here are others I received in June:

"Sail into the Harbour," Port Elgin, Ontario.

“Sail into the Harbour,” Port Elgin, Ontario.

“Saugeen Shores” came from swap-bot “Retiredartgal.”  She writes that Port, Elgin, where she lives, Saugeen Township and Southhampton are known as Saugeen Shores which is located on Lake Huron and surrounded by fruit, corn, cattle farms and forests.  10,000 tourists arrive there each summer.

"Martha's Vineyard, Massachussetts."  The popular island resort of  is located approximately 6 miles off the coast of Cape Cod  the island is approximately 25 miles long and 7 miles wide at its extreme width.

“Martha’s Vineyard, Massachussetts.” The popular island resort of is located approximately 6 miles off the coast of Cape Cod the island is approximately 25 miles long and 7 miles wide at its extreme width.

“Mamarochat” sent the “Martha’s Vineyard” postcard because I collect map cards. One of her goals is to visit all 351 towns in Massachussetts.

"The Virgin Islands."  Tropical isalnds located 1100 miles south from Miami, located in the eastern Caribbean.

“The Virgin Islands.” Tropical isalnds located 1100 miles south from Miami, located in the eastern Caribbean.

One of my closest friends, Dee, went all the way home to St. Thomas and “all I got” was this postcard!  Of course, I’m happier with it than I would have been with a T-shirt! 🙂  Thanks, Dee!

“Artybeth3” made our mailbox jump for joy with unexpected mail.  She sent the four postcards below and a beautiful washi tape-decorated envelope filled with even more happy mail. She is so kind. She even sent a postcard to my little one–the Crater Lake one.  Awesome, isn’t she?

(Click each image for a closer look and more information).

“Denimblu14,” who graced my mailbox with the beautiful “Panda Comes to Tea,” featured in an earlier post, blessed my mailbox with another set of cute teddy bears.

"Teddy Bear Tea Party on the Beach"

“Teddy Bear Tea Party at the Beach”

Speaking of teddy bears, “Christy102194” made this A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E teddy bear ATC just for me–for the “Price of Happy Mail Swap” hosted by “Artybeth3.”

"My Teddy Bear." Artist: Christy Turner.  Medium: art pen and watercolor paint

“My Teddy Bear.” Artist: Christy Turner. Medium: art pen and watercolor paint

“Pyropae” shared a lovely postcard she received from one of her penpals; she captured my love for purple and flowers all in one postcard.

It’s a good thing people send me lots of flower postcards and photos.  I’m quickly learning that I’m allergic to practically every flower I meet, so this is a less “sneezy-itchy-scratchy” way for me to enjoy the beauty!

I joined a few “Children’s Book Illustration Swaps” in June. Here are the postcards I received so far:

"Miffy."  Illustration by Dick Bruna.

“Miffy.” Illustration by Dick Bruna.

Johanna sent Miffy–Nijntje in Dutch–all the way from the Netherlands.  She loved reading Miffy as a child and has the pleasure of enjoying the books again with her two small children.

Wonderful Jenny, from Oregon, sent the next two.  Like me, she probably has a difficult time limiting the “verbage” to one postcard.

"The Snow Queen." Illustration by Edmund Dulac.  Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, 1911.  From Once Upon a Time.

“The Snow Queen.” Illustration by Edmund Dulac. Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, 1911. From Once Upon a Time.

"Alice succeeded in getting her flamingo's body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, but generally just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, it would twist itself round and look up into her face.  From Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.   Illustration by Margaret Tarrant.

“Alice succeeded in getting her flamingo’s body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, but generally just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, it would twist itself round and look up into her face.”  From Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Illustration by Margaret Tarrant.

I sent an Alice in Wonderland postcard to a partner who loves A-I-W. This one came from the Postcards from Puffin collection.  Just in case you didn’t know, Puffin is the children’s imprint of Penguin Books (links to USA sites).

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  Illustration by John Tenniel, Puffin, 1946

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Illustration by John Tenniel, Puffin, 1946

And here’s the postcard I received on the last postal day in June, sent to me by “eepy,” from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. She sent this one because of my love for “bookish” postcards.  I enjoy receiving eepy’s letters and postcards–she’s so engaging.

New Yorker. Cover by Arthur Getz, March 3, 1973

New Yorker. Cover by Arthur Getz, March 3, 1973

That’s just some of the postcards I received in June. I also received a number of photos.

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If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recognize Dee Stead from an earlier post.  She creates gorgeous photo cards and always sends warm letters and other goodies (like elegant stationery for my own use).   Kate includes some of her photos in a meditation book she’s created.  I received from Margie before, but I don’t think I’ve posted her work on the blog before.  Interestingly, she and Kate are from the same town in North Carolina.

That’s it for now. There’s more to share, but I think I’ve given you enough visual pleasure for one post.  See ya soon!