Saturday, July 4, 2009


Journal Entry: Weight = 173.8; Coinage = $.65, 25 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 1 quarter; Bottles =3; Ground Scores =2; Best Coinage Find(s) = 17 total cents on a “occasional” street, 1 dime and 7 pennies over a five block stretch. See stoop-sitting below.

Feature Entry: The New Orleans legacy of “stoop-sitting” is back. A stoop is a front porch with lots of places to sit and “hang out.” After Hurricane Katrina, Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose’s (author of One Dead in the Attic) stoop became an unofficial town hall and community center. In his neighborhood, people gathered to sing songs, talk about “how did you make out?,” have a cola or stronger, vent, solve the cities problems—it was therapy. But then the stoop has always been those things in New Orleans. The stoop is where for generations New Orleanans have clustered as friends, neighbors, and family to talk.

Yesterday, I discovered that the tradition is alive and well while walking and searching on an occasional street (a street that is neighborhood dominant rather than business dominant, and one that I take only occasionally). Rather than an early morning walk, I took an early evening venture.

What a treat! Even in the oppressive heat, it was just like it has always been. Stoop after stoop was filled with friends and families talking and sharing and venting, and eating, and…doing what they have been doing for three hundred years. After Katrina, stoop-sitting slowed for awhile, but its departure was brief. Stoop-sitting and walking, two great stress reducers.

I like walking in New Orleans! Who said that first? Was it Fats Domino?



  1. And watching fireflies? We don't have fireflies in the west. I'll never forget the first time (1973) that I saw them in Memphis. Your post made me think of how I loved to see them in the tree in our front yard.

    There is a lot of stoop-sitting here as well. Hubby and I do ours on the backyard deck that looks up at the mountains. Occasionally the neighbors will wander over and join us which is always pleasant. But no singing here.

  2. Numi, if you wanat a short poignant book about the Katrina experience, ask your public library about ordering "One Dead in the Attic" by Chris Rose. Anyway, it was good to see my Mid-city neighbors back on their stoop.