Today is one of those New Orleans summer days where friends are plentiful, clouds are voluminous, where there is sunshine and at the same time rain, and where it is 11:30am on a Saturday and WWOZ is playing “Tiene Sabor.”
During my 12 years in this city that song has been a constant every Saturday morning. Somehow the same sense of excitement and happiness surfaces within me as it did the first time I heard it.
Yolanda Estrada was like a shaman guide of music for my friends and I during our early New Orleans years. Yolanda’s voice will breach the music to tell us about salsa in the city, what music she’ll play that day, and other topics. Every Saturday her soothing voice would fill our house and prepare us for some magical New Orleans day.
I’m not going to lie, this has been a difficult year. Majority of the time I have been in a hopelessness that I attribute to witnessing the injustices of the refugee crisis, and feeling like I have absolutely no control, ability, or voice to help any one. However, the past couple weeks have begun to lighten my spirit…slowly, but surely.
Maybe because I know that soon I’ll be back in Thessaloniki and continuing to help in every way I can. Maybe simply because I heard “Tiene Sabor” this morning after having a few days with these incredible women I met 12 years ago…12 years ago when we only needed to hear Yolanda Estrada’s voice to feel grateful, comforted, and hopeful.
This is for New Orleans and the incredible people it has brought and continues to bring into my life.
The flavor of New Orleans is a feeling that I feel so lucky to have tasted.