Stepping in buoyant unison to the beat of a New Orleans-style brass band, they pumped their hands toward the sky and toward the ground, as if saluting the land, air and water that greeted the end of their journey. Golden, who lives in the neighborhood, has experienced firsthand. Stopping at sites including the Harriet Tubman Memorial and the former Lenox Lounge — now a Wells Fargo — the part ritual tells the story of a tribe fighting for its freedom with the help of Libra, a time-traveling descendant of Tubman who flies in from the future. Golden, who is from Houston, began the project about five years ago as part of Dancing While Blackan initiative founded by the artist Paloma McGregor. Initially envisioned as a concert dance piece, it evolved along with Ms.
The universe, of course, is based upon the principle of the circle within the circle. At the moment, I am in an inner circle. Of course, smaller circles within this circle are also possible.
In these places the tears have largely been shed already, but if you scratch the surface of a memory, mist comes easily to the eyes of even the toughest soul. In the Crescent City, it's sometimes hard to find a cycle of good within the downward spiral, though the very fact the Zurich Classic is being played at all this week is a sign of faith in the future.
To the east, on the Mississippi coast, the promise of tomorrow seems as real as a wrecking ball. In both cases, golf may have a crucial role in the recovery. The historic cemeteries of New Orleans, the above-ground cities of the dead, are tourist attractions.
Now, it's as if these cities have spread like a plague through whole neighborhoods; blocks and blocks in every direction there are thousands upon thousands of mausoleums, skeletons of 2x4s, spray-painted not with gang graffiti but with the search-and-rescue "X.
Mildew Removal. Quick Cash for Houses. Before Katrina, the elevated I interstate was a parking lot at rush hour.
Now, in the shadows underneath it, thousands of drowned vehicles remain immovable objects, waiting to be crushed and buried. Before Aug. Now, it's less than half that.
For a lucky few, golf is as normal as golf in a wasteland can be.
At Metairie, more than bags of clubs stayed underwater for the duration of the flood. Destroyed and desolate, like most of the houses in the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood surrounding it, Joseph Bartholomew Memorial GC still gets play, of a sort.
Around lunchtime, a fivesome from Fluor Corporation was on the tee. They had found a metal 3-wood and a handful of dirty balls and were taking big, ugly swings in old work boots and laughing.
Glenn Madison, a policeman, was on one of the tees along Congress Drive with a red shag bag and floppy hat that dangled a neck shade to protect against the sun, digging his game out of the dirt and weeds.
Eric St. Julian, a guy with 20 years in at UPS and one of the adult supervisors of New Orleans' First Tee program, was in a corner of the driving range. He brought a chipped and dented small wire bucket filled with scruffy looking balls to hit in pretty much any direction he wanted with his strong, smooth motion.
They talk about life, they talk about golf. And the young guys are just hanging around, and you go out on the driving range and they give you a little lesson.
It was just a beautiful feeling. That's what I miss about it, that community feeling. There's rarely in our society [a place] where young people and old people mix in a comfortable environment.
That is one place. A golf place. New Orleans hosted a mini-Mardi Gras to let the world know it was open for business. And, in fact, tourist areas like the French Quarter are largely up and running, if somewhat lacking in their usual quota of street performers, mimes, urchins, artists and the usual assortment of heavily inked freaks.
But the rubble of the Lower Ninth Ward stubbornly refuses to budge and, after Fat Tuesday, cadaver-sniffing dogs still were searching for bodies.
Down there, a landmark isn't a street sign, grocery or neighborhood bar; it's the crumpled house sitting on top of an upside-down car, like Dorothy's house on the Wicked Witch of the East, a point of reference for the tours that take the curious through the devastation as if they were going on a safari through misery.
One imagines the driver's amplified voice, "On your left is where Anderson Cooper did his show. On your right Seven months after Fats Domino was hauled by boat off the roof of his house, minuscule figures can be seen crawling like industrious insects across the roof of the Super Dome.
The picture of progress, however, can seem as distant as the workmen appear. While the desire to rebuild is ingrained, automatic, a knee-jerk reflex of the species, another hurricane season looms.
You'll have to pardon the residents of New Orleans if they don't have a lot of confidence at the moment in the Army Corps of Engineers. It was "improved" sections of the levees that failed. And there are ongoing controversies about the materials being used in their reconstruction.
The flood maps, released April 12, will help inform New Orleanians what parts of their city are destined to become green space, what parts will require houses built on stilts and what the insurance implications for all of this will be.
Every destroyed house on every destroyed block represents a pending decision by an individual homeowner regarding what makes the most sense for them.
The city -- with an income based almost entirely on sales-tax revenue another reason Mardi Gras had to happen -- is effectively bankrupt. What kind of services, garbage pickup, police and fire protection, will these neighborhoods get?
In the midst of all this, the role of golf can seem superfluous. But, in fact, in some neighborhoods, it could prove pivotal if given half a chance.
Once just a down-and-out municipal course, Bartholomew GC is named after the man who built it. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bartholomew learned the game as a caddie at Audubon GC.
He became an accomplished player and clubmaker and learned course design from Seth Raynor. And, while Bartholomew built the courses, he could not play them because he was black. Bartholomew GC is surrounded by a mostly middle-class, mostly black neighborhood.
It gets just as much play from white golfers as from black. The clubhouse porch, little more than a concrete slab with a roof, was the gathering place for cards, lies and jokes.
It was the host course of New Orleans' nascent First Tee, an undertaking so successful -- children enrolled -- that the city of New Orleans intended to incorporate the First Tee's life-skills instruction into its summer camps and Boys and Girls Clubs.
The day before Katrina hit, 30 First Tee children were on the driving range as the word came to evacuate. The program's kids, like the city itself, were scattered to the winds.
After the hurricane, when the canals breached, Bartholomew was under as much as 20 feet of water, 9 feet deep at the course's highest point. While there are several other public courses in New Orleans, Bartholomew and Brechtel Memorial Park GC are the only two municipally owned courses, and they are in particularly dire straits given the fiscal realities of the city.