I was one of 150 people who went to New Orleans on a bus trip sponsored by the FBW Club (Fabulous Black Women). The club has provided people with the opportunity to see the nation and other countries for the last 40 years.
The trip was 2,000 miles but the people were friendly, sociable and enjoyed each other’s company, just like one big happy family.
Upon arriving at our destination the weather, as anticipated, was plenty hot, but not as hot as we expected. We spent an enormous amount of time sightseeing, but that is what the trips are all about.
The sights consisted of Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, the devastated 9th Ward, the bayou swamps. We took a two-hour trip on the mighty and muddy Mississippi River, a couple of plantations and of course the casino. I was not impressed with the plantation tours, because it appeared to me that the guides [unintentionally] romanticized slavery, when we know that slavery in America was the most dehumanizing act in this nation’s history.
The tour guide attempted to explain to us the horrifying effects of Katrina, but no words could have possibly provided us with an accurate picture. But we were able to see the vacant lots, dilapidated homes and scars in the community and were able to see some of the new solar homes being built.
We came in contact with a number of positive Black youths who repudiated those front page stories about the negative actions of our children. In every business we encountered young Blacks who were graduating from high school or college, those who were attending college or preparing to go in the fall.
The bus traveled through many states that have a history of mistreatment of Black Americans—Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and New Orleans—and it gave most of us a sense of never forgetting.
There were a number of new friendships made—Paul, who lives in York, Pa.; Butch Dudley, who lives in North Versailles and a young man, whose family I have known forever, Aaron Darden from the historic Hill District.
All the buses provided the New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper and hopefully it will increase our readership. I related to those who were not familiar with the history of the Courier about how the papers were distributed throughout the South and how without the Pullman porters it would not have been possible.
Don’t forget to send a financial donation to the Kingsley Association.
(Louis ‘Hop’ Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)