All on a Mardi Gras Day…while sober

I was sober this Mardi gras as part of my year-long commitment to sobriety. Everyone was very concerned for me about how it would be without alcohol; how difficult it would be to just drink water (I don’t drink soda) while everyone else was in their own giggling, tipsy world. But it really wasn’t a…

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Conscious Consumerism

Keep this in mind as you go about shopping the holiday sales:

How are you spending your money?

Don’t talk to me about high unemployment or institutional racism or housing discrimination. Don’t talk to me about some big corporate giant that is making its execs wealthy off the backs of poor, working people while you spend every dime you earn with those same companies.

Don’t want to hear a thing about it until we finally realize that the African-American community has within its purse, pocket and wallet the very means to address many of the problems that plague it…and then do something about it. If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. If you will not provide the missing piece of the puzzle, you are contributing to the jumbled mess. Either we will buy our freedom or pay for our own oppression, I say.

They want to talk about affirmative action. They want to talk about corporate greed. I want to talk about conscious consumerism.

They want to go on and on about discrimination in the work place or the fact that African Americans are unemployed at an appalling rate that pales in comparison to that of Whites. And I want to know when was the last time you purposely went to a Black-owned gas station or grocery store even if it meant going a little bit out of the way.

Here in New Orleans, 50 percent of all African-American men are unemployed. And upon hearing that dismal statistic, I shake. But then I remember that according to a reputable study, if African Americans would just double the money we spend amongst ourselves and spend just 12 cents of every dollar with Black-owned businesses, those businesses could in turn provide more jobs for Black folks—about 589,000 Black folks to be exact.

To be sure, I have perfected the art of taking any argument, any tirade and turning it into an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with anyone who will listen to me when I say that there is only frontier left for African-Americans as it relates to the quest for power and fairness in America. It is not at the ballot box or at rallies, but at cash registers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Vote habitually. And when demonstration is in order, protest vehemently. But unless and until Black America corrals it’s nearly $1 trillion buying power and uses it to build, strengthen and sustain its communities, all the voting and protesting in the world will not get us out of the mess we are in.

Don’t complain about the rampant crime in your communities and others like it while you spend your money with businesses that do nothing for your neighborhood or your neighbors. Don’t complain about the horrid state of your environs when while you spend money every day with businesses whose owners get into their fancy cars and fine trucks to commute to and from gated hamlets and far-flung suburbs to set up shop on your block.

–Anitra D. Brown; editor of the New Orleans BlackBook, a directory of Black-owned businesses, Black entities and organizations in New Orleans, LA.

The struggle of healthy living

The struggle is real. For me it’s always evolving. I see myself getting focused and on track and then the slightest thing will throw me off–moving, occupation changes, the temperature, the seasons (in New Orleans, that means carnival, festival, hurricane, etc.), and so on. Also, just getting older I’m finding out my body doesn’t handle certain foods the…

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Sunday Dinner

Today the Saint’s crushed the Cardinals. WHO DAT!! In celebration, not that anyone needs an excuse to drink in New Orleans, I made myself a very nice drink to go with the leftover Tadka Dal I made yesterday. I didn’t think my Tadka Dal had turned out that great because I used yellow split peas…

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4 x 1–New Recipes: Fig & Pecan Tart

On number 4 of ‘Project 5×5’ I’ve completed one of the five new recipes challenge; four to go. Yesterday I got my Hollygrove Market Box, which for you non-New Orleans residents is a $25 box of produce you can buy with a predetermined list of fruits and veggies that are obtained from nearby farms. There’s…

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“Nope, I can’t eat that.”–Lent for a Non-Catholic

Living in New Orleans is great for any number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is the FOOD. It’s just so good between the oysters, crawfish, beignets, cafe au lait, po boys, muffaletas, sno balls topped in condensed milk, shrimp and grits, all the fried variations, all the drinks, and the list just…

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Paleo Month

I’ve been seeing a lot written about the paleo diet, about how much sense it makes evolutionarily speaking. So I’m giving in and trying it out for a month. And what does this mean? Most simply it means no dairy and no grains in my diet anymore. There’s more to it than that, and I’ve…

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Halloween WAS Happy until…

Halloween in New Orleans is an adult affair. The costumes range from non-existent to incredibly over the top creative. Both last year and this year, Halloween has fallen on a weekday so a lot of people went out on the Saturday before. I went to frenchmen st. both times, and the sheer volume of people…

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