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(mid August events, as recalled in September)
It was after 10pm Wednesday evening (8/10), with less than two weeks until the first day of school, and I had just committed myself to another apartment hunt. I had called my TGNO friend Nihar earlier in the evening to seek his input (“What do you really think about this neighborhood?”), so I called him back again with the latest news. Not one to trust strangers, he suggested that I go ahead and start moving out that night to ensure no more of my valuables would be stolen while we were gone at training the next day. I didn’t suspect Janet or Ono would be inclined to commit any such funny business, but I did want to leave this apartment as soon as possible. Nihar came over and helped me move my new computer and a few other relatively expensive items over to his apartment.
The romantic notion of living in New Orleans proper had disappeared. Before getting to explore all the unique beauty and history of the city, I got slapped in the face with its ugliness and desperation. Throughout the summer I had proclaimed distaste for the idea of moving across the country, only to live in some Anytown suburb. However, without the romance, there really was no reason to stay in New Orleans. The adventurous spirit I had been nurturing all year finally gave way to my practical nature, and I decided to look for apartments in Kenner. Housing was cheaper, neighborhoods were generally safer, and I would be able to live near my job at Bonnabel High School. Whenever I got the urge (and the time) to explore New Orleans, I would be only 12 miles away.
I called TGNO friend Robert, who had grown up in Kenner and still lived there. He assured me that his home city wasn’t such a bad place to live, and invited me to store any possessions in his spare bedroom.
Thursday morning, before going to training, I dropped off Macy to stay with Nat & Joan for a couple days. Again I was needing to lean on them, and ask to move in for what would hopefully be my last temporary stay with them. By Saturday, I finished moving out of New Orleans, distributing my belongings among the scattered residences of Nihar, Robert, and Nat & Joan. (Transporting a queen mattress and box springs on to of my car by myself wasn’t easy, but I was determined!) Simultaneously, and continuing through the weekend, I visited about a dozen apartments in Kenner and neighboring Metairie. My list of apartments mostly came from an apartment rental magazine, but I also consulted a couple real estate companies. Carmen, a Filipino agent from Latter & Blum, was particularly helpful. A couple years prior she had also moved to Louisiana from the South Bay Area of California. She frequently told me how I reminded her of her son, who was about my age. Carmen drove me to a variety of different places. Despite the rushed time frame, I was determined to see a wide range of apartments before making a decision this time. Finally by Monday (which I thankfully had off from training), I settled on the Windsong apartments in Kenner. I filled out the application, and signed a 10-month lease on Tuesday. As soon as the energy got turned on later in the week, I would be allowed to move in.