Tuesday, March 3, 2009


"I had watched the news and seen and heard the destruction of the 9th ward. But it’s not until you see it with your own eyes that it really sinks in and hits home. I've always believed that the spirit of skateboarding is making something out of nothing, and I have applied this mentality all over the world in any and every environment, but try as i might I could not imagine riding my skate board through the 9th ward. I did not feel it appropriate. And really, as I drove through the tattered streets, skate boarding was the farthest thing from my mind."

When I woke up yesterday morning, the feeling that can really only be described as "snow day mania" grabbed hold of me with full force. I rolled out of bed and downstairs to start a long day of lounging. I was not surprised to find the TV in my living room on, thanks to my brother who has yet to learn to shut it off when he leaves the room. What startled me was what was playing in his absence; it was a show called Drive-The South: Part 1. It quickly became background noise until I heard the quote posted above. The show was an episode in a mini series which features a skateboarder, Mike Vallely, who drives around the world exploring people, places, and issues that affect skateboarding and other aspects of youth culture.

In this episode, Vallely was driving down the devastated region of the 9th ward in New Orleans. The damage and destruction was something I was too familiar with. Having directly seen and felt the pain of those in New Orleans, this show brought a different perspective to my experience. You can never estimate how far damage and destruction will influence and affect life as we know it. I never considered that the skateboarding culture of New Orleans was affected by the hurricane. All the media mainly focused on following the storm was damage damage damage and rescue rescue rescue. Once the immediacy of the problem faded from the media's focus, New Orleans' recovery has all but faded from view. The city which was once the cause of inspiration for thousands was washed away in the months following the storm. Musicians, football players, teachers, swimmers, soccer players, students, party animals; all the facets of the city's culture has to be pieced back together, one by one, until the mosaic of life, love, and laughter which embodies New Orleans can once again be seen by all.

This was an interesting juxtaposition for me; the direct experience along with a national media perspective. Which one do you think prevails in our daily lives?

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