In the short time that I’ve spent in the great city of New Orleans, I’ve met a lot of people. Mostly, I’ve worked to build relationships with the community around Prince of Peace – in New Orleans East.
Being from Chicago, New Orleans, to me, is like a piece of Chicago. But, more alive. (Which in and of itself is weird because New Orleanians still need so much help rebuilding their homes, lives, and communities.) For example, it’s one thing to be homesick. Yet, quite another to say that where you live is your home. That’s what the phrase “Where you is at; dat where you is” means. It’s about maturity. It’s about being responsible for yourself.
Attending community meetings, which takes up most of my time, I’ve met the most friendly people, ever. It’s more than Southern Hospitality, although it’s here in this place. I think that it’s a regeneration that comes from faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a reborn nature. One that is manifested from water and Spirit. The people of New Orleans accept you where you are. They smile at you. They hug and kiss you on the cheek. They care. They want to feed you. They engage you in conversation. Some kind folks have even offered me a room to stay in, if I need it.
Why? I don’t know, for sure. There seems to be a mystery about the culture and people of New Orleans. I suspect it may be because New Orleanians love their neighbors – kind of like what Jesus does.