around the age of9 years old. (1995) I began having these dreams of my old neighborhood and my home in a demolished state, looking like somewhat of a war zone, ruins of a wasteland or a ghost town .in these random dreams I would see and hear others Neighborhood shoot outs and mass destruction, .Wrecking Balls Plowing into my room as we take cover. Choppers ahead, Men in swat like Swat Gear coming though the windows arresting us for no reason .
one day I told my Neighbor Ms. Audrey who lived up our drive way on the 1st Floor, I told her about them because they were so weird. I would talk to my parents about this, we were very much into the bible and things, they used to say some of the things i say were prophetic or biblical, I just took the dreams for what they were. one thing they told me which stuck with me was that There was once an Explosion which killed a bunch of folks. things like that caused to just walk circles around the hood looking for evidence of the explosion. eventually causing me to have dreams of buildings exploding or being demolished as we lived in them.. and on top of that The Album Cover to "Bone Thugs N Harmony's "E.1999 Eternal" didn't help the situation LOL! (they were my favorite Rap group)
What made it no better is that at some point in the mid 90’s the Military were doing domestic drills in the area, so I saw a lot of Tanks and Military Vehicles on the Train Carts around this time
By Age 12 I had been through the Desire Projects, these buildings were as close to the images in my head, the difference is, this wasn't my neighborhood. big Holes in the sides of the buildings where people still lived,and it looked like a bomb went off..
These kind of things were stuck in my mind for years.
Around this time, Housing Authority was changing the names of the Projects. The Magnolia Projects became The C.J. Peete. The Calliope was the B.W. Cooper and The Melpomene became the Guste Apartments .and the smaller Public Housing "Scattered Sites" were being demolished .as these old hoods were being renovated to an extent,
On My Mind. I was still wondering, what was gonna happen with the my hood, I saw some old apartments get fixed up and a new paint job ... then ..the year i was heading to high school I watched the demolition of the nearby " Imperial Drive" Neighborhood which once stood Adjacent to "The Youth Study Center" . and Bayou St. John. Most of them folks either moved in the St Bernard or elsewhere..
During that time I walked though what was left of Imperial Drive.. It only made my dreams feel like they were coming true .. Then All my years in high school The Big Projects were all coming down… The Desire, The Florida, & The Fischer Projects and St. Thomas were all Demolished and redeveloped by the time I was a Sr. in high school In my head, I thought for sure The St Barnard was next.
From my Senior year in High School, 2001 and above just got worse..
By then I had seen our neighborhood stores close for good, such as the ones closet to me/ Burnell’s became “Kings”, Still ran by Iranian people though.. after a while that whole store smelled like rotten meat. The Snowball Stand closed,. it later reopened as something else. Felton’s was a black owned neighborhood A&G store. closed. and Mr, Harrison’s Sweet shop was closed up because he had taken sick, He reopened in 2004-05, we were glad to have him back. but by then the neighborhood wasn’t the same. New residence brought some chaos to the area.
Along with that came a Redevelopment of sorts. Our Sidewalks and Drive ways were being were repaved. after the city redid the Pipes which lied beneath them. and the sound of Construction was a constant wake up call.. but why? During this time I would walk around the neighborhood with my camera just taking pictures of the buildings. folks used to think I was crazy because of it. but I did it because I had assumed we weren’t going to be there long. Especially when talking to my Barber “Jimmy” of “Stop Jockin” from across the street..He would always talk about how the city was getting ready to get rid of the old projects .. with him being a business owner I Believed him. 100%
Katrina comes.. ( If you don’t want to read this, just scroll to the part which says “ Dreaming of NOLA”)
…. It’s 2005 and Time went on and August came, the tides arose, The wind blew and the water came.. Chaos broke out, there Burning Looting during the early hours and the Waters rose some more, the streets weren’t filled with looters but now filled with Water, Debris and Thick Sludge, everyone in our area was stranded , only to be confined to what ever locations they were as the waters rose to to 10 or more feet along my street. Day 2 was a day of locals were saving locals, and others came in to assist in the rescue process. This day I saw The Black The Black Hawks and military vehicles.. as well as random people in boats coming to rescue people,
Myself, my family & the neighbors sat on the porch and watched folks get recued up until the some point on between the 30th and 31st up until the the men came with the boats and told is we Had to get to the Bridge … So we left our home assuming we’d be back in a week or so.. well, we though wrong..
please note I wasn’t keeping track of the time, this an estimation based on the time frame)
My Family and A Whole lot of other folks spend the remainder of the time on the i610 at St Bernard Avenue. there were people with bags of food, clothes or what ever they could salvage until we could get away from that spot.. I personally took bag of underclothes a few shirts, My Ipod, My Camera and the clothes on my back …
We took our dog Cheddar with is too..
Although There was a lot going on in the day. Lots of Talking, lots of people being shipped from place to place by chopper from our location .. MRE’s and Water being passed around and there were a number of Uniformed men with Big guns in the Helicopter landing area which was also on the bridge..
Night came, Glass bottles bursting due to the heat.. Weird Sounds coming from the Eerily quiet and settle waters.. it was scary.. some folks had even seen bodies within the area. At some point I was (we were ) able to get some kind of sleep on this bridge at night, yet I was constantly awaken due to the fact that we were being awaken due to folks being on standby hoping for a bus to come.
Eventually the busses came. We had no clue where we were bound for, but uniformed men with big guns assisted us in packing the bus. My Family was forced to leave Cheddar out on the street.. he followed this bus for a time . til we couldn’t see him anymore .. .
The bus driver made an announcement stating that we were heading Houston Texas. We listen to the Emergency Radio along the trip out of N.O, along our exiting trip, we picked up 2 kids who had been sitting with a deceased adult, I believe it was their grandmother. Riding along this highway gave us a clear view of why we were likely not coming back… there were people still in the waters trying to get to the highway. others trying to get to the superdome, which was HEAVILY PACKED when we passed that area up. and murky water to the point that you’d be seasick…..
We Make it to Houston.. My family Lives there for a year, The Mas New Orleans Migration to other cities wasn’t welcomed by many, but it happened and didn’t go well in certain places.. My family got by pretty well… We get Cheddar back after fighting for his return.. we live in Houston for a year and Move Back…..
At some point in early 2006 We took a trip back home to salvage some goods, It felt weird, It SMELLED weird Still no traffic signals, not much electricity, very little traffick.. N.O, was a ghost town . When I made it to my Grandmothers house , only my Aunt was living there at the time, they had electricity too., We slept overnight and. by morning we made it to our old apartment was nearly how we left it despite certain electronics being gone. On the door, it stated that the Authorities had Fed Our Fish and Turtles ,, when we got there though .. our fish and turtles were all dead., even the neighbors rabbit was dead on the floor of the home… Aside from that we got what we came for and headed up the road in a Uhaul back to Houston.
Seeing New Orleans and My Neighborhood, covered in an ashy greenish white overcast of filth this did not help me psychologically at all. .. it just made me wonder what was bound to happen to our city.. mainly me neighborhood…
Dreaming of NOLA
While In Houston I spent a lot of time Dreaming of NOLA, things in which caused me to write I about the things in my blog,a lot, The things I had missed, the things in my and my past time. I would also still dream about My Old Neighborhood, My Schools and other places spent as a child of New Orleans . much of what I had learned wasn’t coming back anytime soon..
…. That trip back home made EVERYTHING worse in my head. Similar dreams but different outcomes.. Warped Dreams about the Katrina Situation and the aftermath..
Late 2006, Early 2007,
We make it back to New Orleans, and Daily in the news was the Chaos, Aside from Law enforcement issues on cases which happened during the storm and after There was talk about Reopening the Projects, The redevelopment of the area housing, the schools. parks and everything There were Protests, Rallies, stand ins, sit downs, second lines and shoot outs.. all on the in the news .. It was just weird because all of this was going on and yet there still wasn’t electricity here, and the national guard was still patrolling the streets .. That was the “New Normal” for a while..
Between that time and now I’ve witnessed Many schools Open and Close, torn town, rebuilt, Turned around, chartered off, auctioned off and or just plain abandoned..Politics politics ..just sad..
Back To My Hood..
My Neighborhood as well as the last standing Projects were all get completely torn down with a few old buildings standing. and renovate. along with New and or Incomplete development in many of these new Privately owned complex's
With all the time pending between the Days that my old neighborhood still stood. I was able to salvage old goods, Walk through other buildings and even my old high schools… I went thru these buildings Take Pictures and for the most part, Cry .
because the images I had seen of My Buildings Standing in Ruins actually came true and everything that was connected to my upbringing was no more …
This Phoo Below is a pic from old neighborhood it its final days . This was a 3 story building. with the 3rd floor knocked off.. the porches gone and the well total destruction.. When I saw this.. It was like walking through my old dreams. scary yet real.. .
Today None of those buildings stand., and they were replaced with new development. Great looking area today. Yet in my head and in my dreams I constantly see what used to be there ..
Today, I don’t Dream so much of the military ambushing.. Typically, The Setting of my dreams take place in This old area because it was all I knew before Katrina… ,Such as the one where I’m walking through the neighborhood at night, as the lights are powered on with bright yellowish flare, the weird part is the area is empty and the the windows are pitch black / blown out which looks scary from the outside in… but when you walk into the building, open the doors . you see families living there and everything looks beautiful…
…………. The only really bad dreams I have are the ones associated directly with the nights of the flood… because Everything I stated above gets warped in to the moments of the flood. along with the random acts of Violence ,gunshots, bloodshed, which were also some of the Bad things about actually living in a neighborhood as such.... It’s crazy to say but in my head there’s so much going on.. Folks would call me CRAZY or INSANE if I told them this stuff..
With All That said, you may have to pardon me for this one, but…
Time and time again, I assume that The thing that caused me to have these dreams are the countless stories I’ve heard in my childhood, whether true of false, along with My belief in theories of conspiracy. and my personal religious beliefs and taught doctrine. .
I grew up with My Dad’s Air force Fort Leavenworth Stories and other stories regarding his childhood, cousins and siblings. .
Mr. James’ Vietnam POW stories,
My Religious Beliefs / in End time Prophecy.
The Illuminati / New Order Conspiracies (as they connect with the bible)
world Conspiracies in general such as he Philadelphia Experiment, Bermuda Triangle.
Watching documentaries about such events and theories
…… That was just my childhood. The Irony is after Katrina, There were movies that I saw since Katrina that loosely represent a lot of the visuals in my childhood dreams, it’s weird but true .
To this day, I sometimes wonder about out what certain things in my dream mean.. I have a lot going on in my head.. .. Crazy Right?… Nah..
They’re just dreams though right?
- The Book