Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maafa 2011: Hurricane Katrina at Joyce Gordon Gallery

This afternoon the gallery was full as poets shared their work in honor of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina six years later. CeCe Campbell Rock just back from visiting her husband in New Orleans updated us on the legal haggling in place that keeps survivors from accessing the type of resources that would enable them to get back in their homes. After the program, CeCe spoke of how her home was sold for back taxes $300, the letter sent to a wrong address. This was three years ago. If she hadn't found out, in December she and her family would have lost their home as homeowners have three years to contest the purchase.

Lewis Watts, photographer, shared work from an upcoming book about New Orleans--his work made the comments and poetry tangible as we looked at the faces of adults and children, just a year after Katrina at the first Mardi Gras and the Essence Music Festival.

Opal Palmer Adisa and devorah major, Daughters of Yam, were extraordinary individually and collectively-the more searing poem about the Maafa. As they read people were encouraged to moan--chains and rain sticks passed from one person to another.

QR Hand and Charles Blackwell were also phenomenal. In fact, everyone was--Karla's poem for her daughter Asa, really sweet--a poem about loss really transition, acceptance and letting go.

Cake, Karla's Birthday Cake put smiles on many faces as people purchased some of the many books for sale like Furaha Youngblood's Cat-Eyed Woman from Louisiana. Tennessee Reed and her dad, Ismael Reed were in the audience, Tennessee shared work from an upcoming volume. Babies and little ones tottled around the gallery--Visual Word: Poetry through Photography having its closing reception as well this afternoon.

It was a busy day in the neighborhood (smile) with Ericka Huggins and Bobbie Seale next door, but as a wise person told me once: There are always enough people to go around. I hope Kevin Epps screening of the film about the Mardi Gras Indians went well too.

We raised over $300 as hoped which will be divided between the two organizations: Common Ground Health Clinic and LIFE of Mississippi, the Biloxi site. If you are ever in New Orleans, visit CGHC which is in Algiers (on the West Bank). Ask for Meshawn. If in Jackson, certainly pop into the main offices there and ask for Josh and Christy. In Biloxi ask for Bobbie. They would be happy to meet you.

Photos: TaSin Sabir


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