When I made my first trip to New Orleans for a weekend in April, I had most of the day on Friday to myself, since most of my friends were in the wedding party and had errands and rehearsal and stuff to do.
In the afternoon, after I’d mostly recovered from my hellacious Bourbon Street hangover, I laced up my sneakers and grabbed my camera and struck out on my own. I spent several hours that day wandering around in the French Quarter and along the riverfront. I visited all the shops and places you’re supposed to see. I saw a quartet of amazing street performers in the ampitheater near Cafe Du Monde. I had gumbo and shrimp Creole in a sidewalk cafe with an old-school little jazz & blues band playing near me on the patio. I went to the aquarium and took my time at each exhibit. I walked along the riverfront and sat on a concrete ledge-type place there for a little while to listen to a man in shabby clothes playing the trumpet.
This man had two little children with him – a boy and a girl, maybe 3 and 5 years old. They chased each other around and tackled each other in the grass and squealed with absolute joy while he played his songs. As an oldest child, I habitually keep an eye on other people’s children when I’m out places just as I used to keep an eye on my sisters, and I watched these two kids in that way, and also because they were so cute and having so much fun. I needn’t have worried, though, because the trumpet player kept his eye on them, and called them back when they scampered too far away from him. None of the pictures I took that day came out particularly well, but I was able to get a couple of shots of the kids.
I’ve been thinking about them these last few days. I wonder if they were able to get out of the city, or if they had to endure the nightmarish conditions at the Superdome or the Convention Center. I wonder if they are safe, if they’ve gotten food and water and a warm, dry place to sleep.
I wonder if they lived. I’ll probably never know.