Leave Your Door Open

Sometimes bad stuff happens so you close the door to your neighbors. But after Robert Green lost his mother and granddaughter in Hurricane Katrina (they slipped from him from a rooftop), the whole tragic experience made him open his front door wider. He spoke tonite at Riverdale, a few months after the 10-year anniversary of the national and personal tragedy of Katrina.

“The more I told the story, the less painful it was.”

In a short film shown about him, the message was: Tell your story, accept your pain, then enjoy the life you have.

He said that Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation helped. “Everyone knows Brad Pitt. Everyone loves Brad Pitt.” But it’s you all, he said – only he said it like ‘y’all’ – the young people who came to volunteer, who made the difference.

He really praised the young people. “The world’s not going to hell in a hand basket. This is going to be a great world because of y’all.”

He misses his mother. Yes, he misses his granddaughter, but he sees her in the spirit of children who come to volunteer. And the kids from Riverdale who, like so many, have done so much.

“I’m only as strong as the people who’ve helped me.”

He’s moved to permanent housing from a FEMA trailer. “And even when it’s cold and rainy, I still leave the door open.” Neighbors return to the Lower Ninth Ward. And he considers all of us his neighbors.

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Mr. Robert Green, center, greets families to talk about New Orleans 10 years after Katrina.
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Mr. Green believes that young people make it right.

Happy-Go-Lucky? Good enough!

In the face of worry, I stay perky and productive. Chris does too. We continue to make a contribution — at work and at home. I want, need, and hope that we all stay as positive and productive for as long as possible.

Chris’s work is very meaningful. On the heels of his success translating The Cherry Orchard Off-Broadway and directing Picasso at Lapin Agile in Florida, he is performing in a fabulous production of Taming of the Shrew. He is also making a documentary with his friend Dan about having Parkinson’s as they rehearse for one performance of Beckett’s Endgame. (Checkout The Endgame Project.) We’re going to see the trailer for the documentary on Monday night.

So when people ask me, How is Chris doing? I usually say, “He’s doing great. He’s productive and he’s positive.”

As a family, we are doing great. Or, at least, good enough. And good enough is good enough. Lots of times, we are perky and happy-go-lucky! As I’ve said before, “We get by with a little help from our friends.” And family!

And when we feel sad about having to just get by, that’s okay. We’re human after all.