Party it up, but keep life in perspective

Spencer Jenkins

I can’t lie. I spent the last couple days partying my ass off on the famously known Bourbon Street.

To answer your question, no I didn’t flash anybody for beads, but yes I had fun nonetheless.

Gorging in gluttony with Cajun cuisine (before I left for New Orleans I ignorantly claimed hating Cajun food) and barhopping the local and touristy bars is just part of New Orleans.

Let’s face it: the city throws down. I took a shot out of a bartender’s pants, for God’s sake. My humorous, impulsive and somewhat ridiculous antics provided much entertainment and possible embarrassment for my friends, but honestly, I had the time of my life bonding with Bourbon Street.

For a city that experienced, witnessed and still suffers from the horrific devastation of Hurricane Katrina, happiness and celebration remain intact.

Through the jazz bands performing on the streets for tourists and the bright and colorful neon signs illuminating the city, their pride shines.

But despite however many shots I took or how many white boy dance moves I busted on the dance floor, the harsh realities of the city eventually manifested itself inside me when I saw the Lower Ninth Ward. 
    For you apathetic or uneducated people, immediately following Katrina the population of the neighborhood dropped from 18,000 people to less than 3,000. Not all died, but because of the tragic destruction, many no longer had homes and simply left for other areas.    

Imagine a disaster leaving almost all of WKU’s students homeless or dead. Yeah, let that sink into your conscious.

When I rode around in our comfy SUV through the almost third world neighborhood, no words came out of my mouth. I work with words on a daily basis, but I found myself speechless.

Instead of words, I had feelings. Anger. Confusion. Frustration. Sadness.

In my head I kept asking myself, “Why has our country continued letting this neighborhood rot? Why are celebrities such as Brad Pitt helping build back the neighborhood more than our own government?”

Don’t get me wrong. Any help from anyone should be welcomed with open arms, but six years have passed and houses are literally rotting and taken over by nature. Trash and makeshift street signs litter the area, and front porches still sit from houses that once existed.

I’ve traveled all over the world and have seen actual third world countries and to me, this neighborhood fits in that category.

Obviously efforts from the government and prominent figures such as Brad Pitt have made the neighborhood slightly better — better, the understatement of the century for that neighborhood — but it still looks shanty after six years? They need our help, people.

Every American who has the means to visit the Lower Ninth Ward should because the reality check will put aspects of your life in perspective, whatever the matter.

Also, party on Bourbon Street; the locals will love you and you’ll love them!