Little did we know, but that Mahogany Oaks magic was to come along with Mike and I into New Orleans on Tuesday morning. Not only did it come to New Orleans, but it lives in my neighborhood.
After my appointment left, Mike and I talked about what to do and decided to wander around in the neighborhood and eventually get a bite to eat. Instead of going toward the museum or the track, we decided to cross Broad Street and wander Bayou Rd.
I confess to usually heading in the opposite direction when I wander. We discovered some renovations along the Bayou Road strip on our way to check out the Pagoda Restaurant. It was packed. We kept moving and wandered up a tiny piece of DeSoto street to my friend Deb's shop, The Kitchen Witch.
On our way there, two men were sitting on the porch. We said our good mornings and kept going. (That particular Tuesday, Deb was closed.) We passed the guys on the porch again, one of the men commented on his "very sweet new neighbor" and then asked me:
"Do you know who I am?"
I didn't know what to say. I scrolled through the many possibilities in my mind, but ended up asking: "Should I?"
"I'm David Montana."
All of my Mardi Gras Indian light bulbs went off. The Montana family is legend. He invited Mike and I into his home. Here we were, spending time with Big Chief David Montana of the Washitaw Nation Tribe.
To say we were honored, is an understatement. To be treated to family, culture, history, talent, beauty and yet more very personal stories of the Katrina times; bordered on shocking and unbelievable. There was not a dry eye among us while he shared his poem: The Change of Heart Man. He also directed us to the video featuring him, Joe Lastie and Darryl Davis: New Orleans in Me.
The richness in his sharing took my breath away over and over again. You can find more of Big Chief David Montana's story in a YouTube video called: My Big Chief's Got a Golden Crown.
You can take me out of New Orleans,
but you can't take New Orleans out of me!
The Big Chief had many photos in his suits that he's made over the years that were taken by other photographers.This shot above was one of my favorites,with the St.Louis Cathedral captured as a perfect background. I might add here, that he also wears overalls...a man after my own heart!