New Orleans is divided into several sections: Uptown, Downtown, Mid-City, CBD, Marigny, French Quarter and is home to several neighborhoods like Tremé and the Ninth Ward. Each of these areas has its own unique feeling and is home to different restaurants and businesses, but they are also home to a rich history that we, new residents, don’t yet know.
My supervisor has been an amazing resource for Claudia and me as we learn the history of this amazing city. Hers was the first of many Katrina stories we have heard. She took us to get our first SnoBalls at Hansen’s. And she is the person who has made the history of New Orleans most come to life.
While we are here for the summer Ms. Doreen wants us to be able to learn about and see all that CrescentCare offers its clients. She has made introductions for us in every department, so we could meet people throughout the company and here about the variety of work they do. With her we have also visited other CrescentCare locations. Ms. Doreen drove Claudia and I down one Friday to see the Central Access Network (CAN) office, which provides the only needles exchange service in the city. It was a unique experience. The best part was the respect the volunteers gave to the clients. There was a clear impression that this is a service that has been streamlined and perfected over time so that it now works like a well-oiled machine.
The best part of the experience though was the driving to and from. Driving through Tremé for example I can see the street art and the various churches and streets but driving through with Ms. Doreen means its history is also revealed. On our right was a pretty, white church that struck me as the city version of the one I go to back home: both small and old but obviously maintained. Ms. Doreen though was able to tell the story of how at this church slaves pooled their resources so that they could buy a pew to sit on during services, and to point out the cross monument behind the church that was made from shackles to commemorate those slaves. She also was also talked about how this neighborhood is being changed by gentrification and to point out what used to be where new things are.
Everywhere I go in NOLA, I get to try some new delicious food like a crawfish hot dog in the Marginy or see a new sight like the mule drawn carriages in the French Quarter, or the live oaks in Uptown.