Fighting Poverty with Passion
|A New VISTA Reporting
“Arriving in New Orleans on the eve of the Saints’ first SuperBowl bid and during Mardi Gras presents what might drily be called Challenges & Opportunities.The Challenges are mainly logistical. Getting to a grocery store in a new city is hard enough without the added complication of closed streets and closed grocery stores. Questions about directions have a fifty-fifty chance of being asked to someone holding a pocket guide to New Orleans in one hand and a newly-purchased bead bag in the other. They don’t know where anything is.
The Opportunities, however…oh my. French Quarter post-SuperBowl victory? Thrill of catching one’s first Mardi Gras beads thrown from a tractor-drawn wonder wagon? Watching a man covered head to toe in green spandex breakdance in front of the giant speakers of shoe-store employee rappers on Canal Street? Listen to a 16-year old explain how she’s headed to the casino to meet her parents? At 11 AM on a Sunday? Share a bottle of wine with new friends along a parade route?
I worry the city might seem boring after all this introduction. Then I have one of those moments, so rare in today’s hyper-connected world of social media, 24-hour news and banner ads pulled by airplanes—as if the sky is the Internet!—one of those moments where I stop and look at the amazing things around me and realize, in one brilliant paparazzi-flashbulb moment of Lady-Gaga’s-crazy clarity, that I am an idiot.” -Nick Poggioli, AmeriCorps VISTA Member