Ha, ha! My Own Purple Martin House!

Generations ago, the Morris family became hosts for Purple Martins. When the ladies and gents of the Purple Martin family would travel through Jackson, Mississippi, on their way from South America to the eastern United States, they always stopped over at the Morris Ice Company. Grandaddy Morris made sure of that. He put up houses for the travelers....

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Lent 2021: Update

It’s really interesting. Most Lents, my disciplines don’t come easy. I have to be very intentional about observing them. After a bit, they will become a new habit, but it takes a while. This Thumb Prayer discipline is different. As I talked about last week, this Lent I’m working on Thumb Prayers each day. Each day,...

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No More Giving Up

This is the way it goes: Christmas, Epiphany, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Day, Ash Wednesday, Lent. We are now in the 40 days of Lent. (This is a religious calendar, but life in New Orleans revolves around it; there’s a season of Mardi Gras for a reason). This year, I’ve made a hard shift on Lent, one many of you might disagree with. Traditionally,...

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Yay!!!

The temperature dropped to 26 degrees. In New Orleans. But our pipes didn’t burst. The sun came out. Yes, it took its own sweet time, but by 2:00, the sky was blue. The kids came over. They, as a group, were dangerous insects. (Think thorn bug and dung beetle plus two more). I, as David Bowie’s Major Tom, handed out Space...

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Mardi Gras Waiting

We sit in the dark the night before Mardi Gras Day. If you’re not from New Orleans, it’s hard to understand what the season means to the city. This 2021 pandemic Mardi Gras has been both muted and astounding. House floats have taken the place of crowd-packed parades and rolling monsters of creativity. The houses are magical. “Yardi...

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I Love You

I see you looking at my mask with disdain. You think I’m a coward, afraid of getting a virus that is no worse than the flu. One that probably doesn’t even exist, anyway. And if it does, masks sure don’t work. I’m just being a sucker.  I envy you the freedom to believe that way. I’m jealous of your luxury of theory because you’ve known no...

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If We Don’t Know about Racism, Maybe it’s Our Own Fault

The Public Defender broke the news: the DA was dismissing the charges against my friend. We were seated in his office, a small, square space with a desk and chair and not much else. I was there in my year-long wade through racism and incompetence in support of my friend. A white woman had claimed—three months after the fact—he had stolen her purse....

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When Your President Can Do No Wrong

The dry cleaners my grandparent owned smelled like hot cloth and headache-inducing sizing and musty Town Creek. I could kneel on the floor, squint an eye over a hole, and watch the creek flow beneath downtown Jackson, Mississippi. When I rose, I dusted my dirty palms as the iron sewing machine whirred, stabbing and hemming, mending and sewing. Late...

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The Attack

When I was in elementary school, I lived next door to the county sheriff. The sheriff’s family was best friends with my family. One of the daughters in the family was our favorite babysitter and second mom. We loved that family. The sheriff’s family had a dog. A German Shepherd. His name was Shane. Shane protected our house the same...

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Sounds of the Day Leaving

I am sitting here on the point of my screened porch listening to the day leave. Squirrels crack nuts. Mocking birds, attempting to colonize the highest branch where they can lord it over all the other lower birds, scold. Wings flap. Even in January, bugs buzz. The sun lengthens shadows. Cars hum on Beach Boulevard, one, two, sporadic. Dogs bark...

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