jewel bush kicks off our, “Meet______”series. This fun series features NOLA women by asking them questions that provide a glimpse into their personalities and lives. We never know what they’ll say.
Born & Raised or Transplant? Born and raised.
Day Job? Communications professional and columnist for The Uptown Messenger.
Dream Job? Launching and operating a franchise jet ski rental business throughout the Caribbean.
Advice for tourists? Don’t use New Orleans as a toilet. Just because you can drink and throw up on Bourbon Street doesn’t mean that you can treat the entire city like this. You may like the architecture and think the people here are darling, but please ask before you start snapping pictures of people going about their everyday lives and their property too.
What I love about NOLA? I love New Orleans in the springtime, right before the heat bears down on you. I love New Orleans’ distinct history and as I get older, I seek out the wisdom, advice and stories about the city from elders; these stories typically aren’t written in books, journals or newspapers. Here, we like to give directions not by north or west, but by bygone landmarks so knowing the history of the entire city is vital.
What have you learned from living in NOLA? In New Orleans, we often take our culture for granted. It’s so natural to us like breathing. And that’s how we get got! Folks come in and are so excited and geeked about the traditions and rituals that we take for granted that they end up stealing our stories from right under our noses. As a writer, reporter and storyteller, I believe that it is essential that we tell our own stories; that we own our narrative so we don’t have voyeurs coming in and Christopher Columbus discovering our heritage and rites.
To do this, we must first recognize the value in the everyday; in the very things that we tend to overlook.
Most people don’t know … I’d like to keep it like that, lol.
If you could hear what someone was thinking for day, who would you choose? My father.
A BrassyBrown woman is determined.
Four years ago, I started a group for writers of color in New Orleans called MelaNated Writers Collective. My vision was to create a community for writers and storytellers of all levels from those just starting out to those with MFA’s; to create a safe space to critique work and to share resources. I had no idea what it would look like or if folks felt a lack of community like I did. I wanted a space where I could talk candidly with colleagues about all the struggles of being an artist free from judgment.
We have grown and evolved during this time. Members have linked with one another to work on everything from photography projects to a traveling production of an original play that has traveled to Atlanta and Chicago.
We’ve held readings from everywhere to the New Orleans Museum of Art to locally-owned places like the JuJu Bag, Café Treme and the M. Francis Art Gallery. But our main focus is to support and lift up one another while we write, while we work, while we tell our stories.