Report from New Orleans

I’ve been traveling, and am now settled back in Santa Fe but still have Louisiana on my mind. Nothing like writing about it to get it all out! I hope you’re interested in “what I did on my Summer vacation”…

I went to the first weekend of Jazzfest in New Orleans, which has a new advertising campaign and marketing slogan, “You’re Different Here”. They mean that when you come to New Orleans, it’s as if you have a fun twin and they take over.
But before I launch into that, I want to make sure you’re aware of a June 29th intuition class in Santa Fe at Estrellas Moroccan Spa, details on my website and in the upcoming newsletter.

Report from New Orleans:
After a soul-satisfying week of food, music, and balmy tropical weather, New Orleans, unless I’m wearing rose-colored JazzFest glasses, seems to have come roaring back to life after Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Surprisingly, everyone’s eating the seafood like nothing ever happened. I wondered on the plane coming in, what it was going to be like to be in New Orleans and not eat seafood–and that was the last time it crossed my mind. Just like everyone else, I went right on eating what tasted good, feeling incredibly lucky to be scoffing down the shrimp and grits on the Jazz Fest fairgrounds, the seafood gumbo and crawfish etouffe from Li’l Dizzy’s, and fried soft-shell crab.

I talked to one local who surmised that eating the seafood post-spill would show up a few years later through various ailments and symptoms, but he hasn’t changed his eating habits, either.

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the harsh realities of life anywhere else. Every night was party night in the Marigny district–Frenchman is now a mini-Bourbon Street, with funky brass street bands, pop-up Mexican taco carts, and music pouring out of every door.

Beyond the annual Spring wonder of JazzFest, New Orleans seemed a lot more established than last year. I sampled a little of the alternative healing and lifestyle scene, dropping by Maypop, a new herb store that provides a free Thursday night clinic for stress-release acupuncture, a service that began during Katrina . Voudoun author Sallie Ann Glassman’s Botanica is now operating in its new location on St. Claude, one of a number of alternative healing centers coming to that complex. (…I thought they should have a Healing Arts Fest there like Jazz Fest, featuring practitioners from all over, with healing foods and music.)

The biggest and best change in New Orleans since Katrina, a number of residents told me, is the improved education system. (My temporary neighbor in the Bywater was a yoga teacher at a charter school, and her students were six and seven years old. )You can read all about its transformation at, a very exciting website for any city. Everyone seemed to think that this new positive development was going to change the fate of the city.

In a teeshirt shop on Decatur, I realized why improving public education is so important. I had struck up a conversation with the shop owner, a friendly, funny guy. He was telling me about the history of New Orleans, and before you know it he got onto the subject of black people and slid off Friendly Road into a stunningly raw rant about thieving black teenagers who were ripping him off “…because for six generations, they haven’t held a job!!!” It didn’t seem the right time to mention it, but that’s because New Orleans didn’t invest in public education for thirty years; the schools didn’t turn out students with enough education to be employable, and this inevitably led to a high crime rate. It sounds like all that has a chance to change.

Until next year, because who could resist going to JazzFest, and the American city with the most magical spirit, in 2012?
P.S. I learned one reason it showed up in the tarot that the spill was somehow a boon to the economy: I heard that every restaurant worker and person in the service industry in New Orleans was eligible, and many received, thousands of dollars from BP, up to $25,000–so for awhile there was cash floating around.

Elissa Heyman, Psychic Counseling and Healing, in person/by phone, Visa/MC, Santa Fe, NM 87501,, 505-982-3294. Please call for further information or visit