Monday, April 13 I had another Serve Our Seniors delivery trip in New Orleans East. A man at one of the apartment buildings asked if I worked for the post office; what I was delivering. I explained and told him how to go about enrolling if he was interested. He said he really just needed some flour because he wanted to make some potatoes, but I unfortunately didn’t have flour. He said he’d never taken a handout– not for Katrina, not after the BP spill, never– but he sure was trying to get his unemployment check now. He proudly pointed at his bright red Smoothie King Center shirt and told me that’s where he worked. I wished him well.
My last delivery was supposed to be for a woman, but a young man answered the phone… and informed me the woman had passed away. I had just arrived, and we’re not supposed to bring any food back, so I brought it to the guy and offered my condolences. It was my first time (to my knowledge) that I’d interacted with someone who’d recently lost someone to the virus, and it added a definite layer of gravitas to this experience.
Upon returning to my neighborhood I noticed another name had been added to the Tuba Fats Square sign, and I asked some men sitting in the park about it. Leona ‘Chine’ Grandison had owned and run the nearby Candlelight Lounge, and had passed the previous Thursday, I was told.
Later in the day, I ventured out to Frenchmen along Rampart to get photos there. A man in a La-Dee-Fuckin-Da!!! shirt approached my friend and I and said, “I guess y’all are out here doing the same thing I am… takin’ pictures of all this craziness! I tell ya, it wasn’t even this bad during Katrina, man…” We all hemmed and hawed for a moment, then to break the silence my friend said, “Well, la-dee-fuckin-da, right?” It took a moment for the man to remember the shirt he was wearing, but then he laughed a hearty, open-mouthed laugh that definitely brought some cheer to the afternoon.
Tuesday, April 14 We just took a little walk under the Claiborne bridge. The Louisiana death toll surpassed 1000, jumping to 1013 after seeming to flatten out a bit in the 800s for the previous three days.
Wednesday, April 15 A former marine on a bike with a big American flag came through while we were chilling in Alcee Fourtier Park. He had all sorts of ideas on how to earn money at this time, to include transporting people across the Mississippi in a double-wide kayak. A member of the NOPD approached to make sure we were familiar with and following the 6 foot distancing rules, as outlined by signs throughout the parks. Mayor Cantrell extended the Stay Home order to May 16. The Louisiana death toll surpassed 1100, jumping to 1103 from the 1013 reported the day before.