Worked out for my second time at Loyloa yesterday, and I continue to be impressed with this instititution. Never have been a big rooter for any college sports team before, but now have a special place in my heart for Loyola and will cheer for them in the future.
I asked a well dressed stranger for directions last night and after a bit of navigational advice, he said "come on, I'll give you a ride." We hopped into his SUV and talked about New Orleans post Katrina (he was in the court building through the storm and did not leave until a week after the storm hit.) We also discussed politics and my upcoming trip to Venezuella. This eternal optimist calls himself a "Goodwill Ambassador" and told me to call him if I ever needed any help. Turns out that Dennis J. Waldron is a Judge in the Criminal District Court of the Parish of Orleans. Nice to have friends in high places and even better to know that people of position and authority are willing to help a total stranger.
Entering many establishments like Jacques Imos Cafe or Juans Flying Burritos you will see a sing that says, "Be Nice or Leave". This, in so many ways sums up the attitude of New Orleans. People here are open and talk to strangers. It is similar to how I found the people in New Foundland to be.
I walked the lenght of Magazine street past it trendy boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, antique stores and bars. The best section is inbetween Loissianna and Napoleon street. I happend upon a coffee shop called Puccino's where the Uptown Chess Club had taken over most of the tables with probably about 30 games of timed chess being played by young and old alike. It was so heartneing to see, not sure why, just made me feel good.
Oh yeah, after I finished my workout, I had a great conversation with a Vietnameese semianry student who is n New Orleans to study at Notre Dame. He came to America as a 28 year old in 1993. Most of Vietnam is Buddhist, but he was baptized as a baby. He asked me about the Concupiscence of the Flesh and we had a very interesting discussion about the Good and Evil. It is intersting to note that of all the severely damaged zones in New Orleans after Katrina it was the area of East New Oleans dominated by Vietnameese that rebuilt and returned to normal far faster than anywher else.