Earth Day: Witnessing Survivance

Graphic Image Earth Day Is Everyday!

SITE:/ation 9th Ward New Orleans

Two and a half weeks in the 9th Ward of New Orleans changed all of us Fabrics & Fashion Folks at Material Institute.  The land of the 9th Ward is ground zero for the apocalyptic destruction of being flooded due to a hurricane.  From the 1915 Hurricane, Flossy 1956, Betsy 1965, Georges 1998, Katrina and Rita 2005, and Ida 2001.  Before Katrina, the 9th Ward had the largest number of black homeowners in New Orleans.  However, post-apocalyptic Nola experienced a significant population decline.  Now like almost all of New Orleans, a vacant property is investment capital for out-of-state investors.  That is until the next large flood, which will happen.  The land is the Mississippi Delta, it’s meant to flood and regenerate itself.  The magic of Nouvelle Orleans comes from this regeneration.  It is the Spirit of Congo Square, the birthplace of American Music, Mardi Gras, colorful ornate architecture, good food, cutting-edge art, and Creole Elegance.

Now the 9th Ward is bursting with creativity, as it demonstrates to the world the transformation of what comes after a flood.  It’s humbling to witness survivance on land that has suffered so much pain and destruction.  Life isn’t fair, and people lost their lives and all their belongings in the 9th Ward over several generations.  The swamp underneath the paved streets with colorfully decorated shotgun houses captivates us in a spell of descant creative energy that feels like capturing time in our Mason jars of indigo starter.

When we made Mason jars of our indigo stock solutions, we were remaking ourselves in the sludge of The Blues.  It takes strength and courage to rebuild in a place after it has been repeatedly submerged under stagnant hurricane rain.  After the water goes down and the land dries out seeds of hope can bubble up into a little canoe on the backs of our ancestors.  This is one of the many miracles I witnessed during Passion Week in the 9th Ward. Live music blended with stitching and binding up The Blues with a dash of Geechee something, something in a hot pot of simmering plant-based indigo is transforming us.  Textile making at Material Institute is collectively growing as we demonstrate SITE:/ation 9th Ward Nola.  What a wonderful Earth Day Celebration from a shared real-life experience!

Published by Carola Jones, Artist

Indigenous Artist, Writer, Designer | Internet Techie | Pow Wow Dancer | Lover of Dyeing Cloth Especially With Indigo, Madder & Marigold | 4th Generation Hand Embroidery & Sewing Enthusiastic | Working Traveler | NC Toisnot & Mattamuskeet Tuscarora & FL Seminole | Algonquin Gullah Mixed Blood

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