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In New Orleans, We Mind the Gaps

Mind the gap.

As the world has been transfixed by the originators of pomp and circumstance, Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral also makes clear our send-offs will be slightly different (don’t they know a second line should a few more hip gyrations—and with a few more wardrobe changes?!). 

As Errol points out, our parents would have had to introduce us to Monaco society quite sooner if we had real designs at a crown and scepter. Really makes you wonder if those piano lessons were the right extracurricular after all.

In the land of free and home of brave, however, royalty is not normally a child’s highest aspiration. We may not have the gaps between vassal and lord, but gaps we have still.

How do we put it? I want to get ahead. This week I’ve been minding those New Orleans gaps. They may be non-royal but are quite real.

On one side, we could look to our duly elected leadership. When the mandate doesn’t come from divine right, it doesn’t sit quite as regally, but mayor of New Orleans still has a powerful ring to it.

In her current public relations roughhousing, Mayor LaToya Cantrell provides another us-versus-them feeling. She of “adopt-a-storm-drain” and “take-personal-responsibility-for-COVID” and “I-may-cancel-Mardi-Gras-yet” now channels her creative wordplay to justify airplane upgrades. Safety, her daughter, airplane anxiety. I would suggest adding: waiting multiple letters of the boarding alphabet, mingling with the hoi polloi, and a higher starred alliance server. Oh, and drink tickets. Anyway, what’s $29,000 between friends—er, constituents?

Mind the gap. But as large as that one feels—and larger by each press release—the one on the other side yawns even wider.

Facebook Marketplace brought me to New Orleans East Saturday afternoon. I love using the platform to find useful items (that I’m not willing to buy new) and to find new homes for items (that I’m not willing to drop on the curb). Perhaps you, too, considered my advertisement of a washer-dryer combo.

The washer went, but the electric dryer lingered, tarped over on the deck for a week, awaiting the delivery call. It finally came Saturday, bringing with it a borrowed dolly and a truck ramp and a Hail Mary for of grace, keep that strap in place trip over the Highrise. 

The buyer was a little inconsistent with her communication, and when I drove up, I saw why. Four little children (or was it five?), multiple teenagers, a special-needs middle-aged male. The mother of the house overseeing it all, directing the grocery unloading while explaining how she could never get a refund for a $90 dryer part that never worked.

With a platoon-sized family unit, laundry has a way of piling up. Better, needs have a way of building.

The sale no longer was my good-home-for-a-fair-price special. Suddenly I was thinking, “This stupid dryer better work for a long time for these folks.”

Mind the gap.

While the lifestyles—and ludicrous statements—of the rich and famous might feel a world away, they may be closer for the mortgage-paying, vacation-taking types among us. Let’s go get a bite to eat and play with Zillow for dessert. The same things are happening whether you’re in business or economy class.

But that gap between middle class and struggling poor? That’s a big one.

So pray for that dryer. Pray for those struggling. Pray that I might remember to ask during my next Facebook Marketplace meet-up: And what would you do with $29,000 in airline upgrades?

Mind the gap.


Ok. Ok. Best as I can tell, there was no New Orleans Second Line for Queen Elizabeth II. Local Second Line historians will recall, however, the city did recently turn out for a Queen. Or at least a member of the exclusive group. David Bowie’s 2016 death flooded a few French Quarter streets. Enjoy some pre-COVID memories.

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