Friday, June 11, 2010

King Ronald Lewis

Allen Kimball went with me to interview the owner of the Museum of Dance and Feathers. I got a history lesson from the King himself. I also got a lesson in comporting myself professionally as a photographer, a very gentle reminder to ask before turning on my recording equipment and taking pictures. I've been trying to be less timid over time, but today I was reminded that it is possible also to be too bold.

My host was incredibly gracious and gentle while I repeatedly tried to get a grip on the local definitions of family and church which overlap almost entirely with social aid and pleasure clubs, and which are all really "just"--as if "just" had long enough arms to embrace such a place--at any rate, "just" community. Here community is a set of networks bleeding into each other. It is a network of families and churches, many descendants of sugar cane and cotton farmers from Mississippi and rural Louisiana. They have shared blood lines and brought a tradition of gardening to the city before urban gardening. King Lewis said, "Here, it's just gardening."  He calls himself the pied piper of his family, drawing people back from where they scattered after Katrina. He sees himself as the pulse of the community that won't quit beating.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, I know that I speak for many of the people of New Orleans, especially the Lower 9th Ward in saying how much we appreciate you. You quest for the truth is so very unusual in the United States these days. Know that we consider you one of us and a member of our fair city of New Orleans.

    let me remind you, there are still a million stories here yet to be told. Perhaps your work here on this website in encourage others to following in your footsteps.

    Take care good friend and please lets stay in touch.

    Allen Kimble
    Lower 9th Ward
    New Orleans, LA.