Talk about being at the right place at the right time! We landed in New Orleans late Saturday night, and we were scheduled to fly home after my presentation at the New Orleans Public Library (Milton H Latter Branch) tomorrow. But poor me, we may have to stay a few more days. From a National Weather Service Report:
The first phase of the upcoming winter storm will begin Monday afternoon and continue into Tuesday morning for portions of Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. The focus then turns towards the larger event beginning Tuesday afternoon and continuing through Wednesday.
Over 18 inches of snow is predicted for Chicago, and officials are warning those traveling through O’Hare to change their flight plans if possible. Yesterday morning we had no idea this storm was brewing, so like always, we packed everything we could into the short period of time we’d be here. In one day, I
- inhaled some shrimp and grits (with a biscuit on the side, of course!) for breakfast at Lüke
- felt chills listening to a God-fearing man belt out his own heartfelt rendition of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” outside of Café du Monde
- smelled the beautiful aroma coming from flowers and trees while passing by not just one, not two but three lush city parks on our walk to Stein’s Market and Deli on Magazine Street
- raced through the rain (not snow–rain!) to get to our friends Bess and Seth’s long, narrow, and sweet shotgun of a house in the Carrollton neighborhood
- took in the smell of green peppers and onions cooking in butter as Bess cooked up a crawfish fettuccini (she got the crawfish at her local grocery store)
- danced to the blues at DBA after dinner.
As I wrote in a blog post long ago, New Orleans truly is a blind woman’s paradise.
Before leaving Chicago on this trip I happened to flip on the radio and caught the first part of a series by BBC reporter Peter White. He’s traveling around the world on his own and documenting his experiences. But here’s the rub: Peter White is blind. Peter’s first stop was San Francisco, and he said that he appreciated people taking special steps to make sightseeing more interesting for him. But sometimes, the saying about good intentions is true. From Peter White:
Specially recorded tapes for blind people, rails to follow so that you can go round unaided, a huge revolution in what you’re allowed to touch. In the desperate attempts of people to make me interested in ‘sightseeing’, I’ve clambered over Henry Moore sculptures, climbed the rigging in ships which felt as if they’d split asunder if I took another step, and listened to endless recordings of groaning doors and booming cannons in the attempt to make history come to life for me.
The plain fact is, though, that however good the intentions, touch is not sight – and once you’ve run your hands over one piece of ancient stone, one stuccoed wall, one marble floor, well, you’ve touched them all.
The problem with touch really is that the hand is too small. You can only touch one little bit at a time. There’s too much missing; a sense of size, colour, perspective, visual contrast. With the best will in the world, you are playing at being able to see, and for me, that kind of self-deception has never cut any ice.
This, nevertheless, does not mean that travelling, visiting and poking about in other people’s cultures cannot be enormous fun for a blind person. It’s just that I think you have to be honest about what is fun, and what isn’t.
I agree! I love Peter White’s attitude, and I enjoyed his travelogue, I just wish he’d picked the right city to visit when coming through the United States. While Peter White may have Left his Heart in San Francisco, I Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.
Don’t worry, Chicago. I’ll be back. Just not absolutely sure when.