TWO SIDES OF MIRO STREET - Harry Shearer: Politics


Uploaded by MyDamnChannel on Oct 16, 2007

Transcript:

HARRY SHEARER: We're back in New Orleans talking to some
folks I know about their experiences here over the last
couple years.
I'm standing in front of probably the most famous New
Orleans landmark at the moment--
a FEMA trailer.
There's a couple parked on this lot.
And inside is a--
a woman who is a wonderful singer as well as a member of
a very famous restaurant dynasty that's about to come
back strong--Leah Chase.
LEAH CHASE: The history of the restaurant--
it's been initially one of the few places, if not the only
place, where, uh, black people could gather and have a lovely
sit-down meal.
Uh, it was also the place many celebrities came through--
African-American musicians and entertainers who could not be
served elsewhere.
It started off in, uh, 1941.
It was founded by my grandfather and my grandmother
as a very, uh, small neighborhood
sandwich shop and bar.
HARRY SHEARER: In case people think they heard about this
place on the news, a certain President of the United States
came and ate in here before it's--
before it's even opened?
LEAH CHASE: Yes, before it's even opened.
HARRY SHEARER: How'd he have the pull to do that?
LEAH CHASE: Well, you-- oh, you really
don't need much pull.
Just talk to my mother.
HARRY SHEARER: [LAUGHING]
LEAH CHASE: She's so anxious to get this place open.
HARRY SHEARER: Really?
LEAH CHASE: Look.
We have changed this sign so many times.
You just have to know-- opening soon.
Really opening soon.
Really, really opening soon.
HARRY SHEARER: [LAUGHING]
LEAH CHASE: This is where it settled--
you know, the water, uh, line right here.
Because the waters did get higher.
And then they-- this is where it landed for a while.
And you could see, as it started to recede, you know,
where it eventually stayed the longest.
Obviously, we still are not open because we have no
janitorial staff or people to rearrange.
Because this is the exact arrangement when they came.
And the president [WHISPERING]
was on this side.
HARRY SHEARER: Over here?
LEAH CHASE: Where was I?
HARRY SHEARER: Yeah.
LEAH CHASE: At the coffee maker in the back.
HARRY SHEARER: Nooo.
LEAH CHASE: Yeah, yeah, I have no clout.
HARRY SHEARER: [LAUGHING]
LEAH CHASE: And I didn't get the little special badge to
hang around in here.
I was the-- the queen of the coffee.
The water stayed about to this level.
Now, this-- these are the original chairs.
We had them refinished.
But when we came in, little, lovely mold.
HARRY SHEARER: Ah.
LEAH CHASE: [INAUDIBLE]
It was really funny to see.
It was literally just growing.
So we--
HARRY SHEARER: So they were fuzzy.
LEAH CHASE: Very fuzzy.
So the whole place was just a--
an allergy victim's nightmare.
HARRY SHEARER: [WHISTLING]
LEAH CHASE: My brother's son, Edgar IV--
you know, in New Orleans, we just keep naming each other
after each other, you know.
HARRY SHEARER: [CHUCKLING]
LEAH CHASE: Whatever.
He's the fourth.
He's very much-- he's got, like, some innate cooking
skills like my mother.
And he really, uh, really wants to see it proceed.
So that makes me feel good that there's another
generation.
I think it will survive.
I like the trailer.
I've got cable.
And I'm happy.
HARRY SHEARER: [LAUGHING]
LEAH CHASE: Just give me--
HARRY SHEARER: When--
how long did it take you to get cable?
LEAH CHASE: Oh, how long?
Well, a little bit actually.
And you know, I love TV.
HARRY SHEARER: Yeah.
LEAH CHASE: So that was-- once I got that, I never need to
leave this thing.
So the trailer, to me, was a godsend, to
be honest with you.
Except the funny part was when we got these trailers, um, we
had two of them.
Someone drove off with one before we could even move.
[LAUGHING]
This one that you're sitting in--
or one like it-- was stolen before we even got in.
So that was another worry-- who took my trailer?
My apartment used to have lock, lock, lock, lock, bell,
bell, bell-- things hanging.
HARRY SHEARER: [CHUCKLING]
LEAH CHASE: And so when I think about the fact that I'm
going to bed every night in the tin can with the lock you
could spit on and get in--
HARRY SHEARER: [CHUCKLING]
LEAH CHASE: --it's amazing how-- how we've changed.
HARRY SHEARER: Mm.
LEAH CHASE: Still is stressful without being knowing--
without us knowing it.
I, um, worked in a little camp for kids this summer, 5 to
maybe 11 or 12.
And that big waterspout came.
It was a huge waterspout.
And they saw it from the window.
And all of these kids just started crying.
One started crying.
They all started crying.
They were saying things like, my family's
dead, my house is gone.
And you know, I know that they would not
have said that prior--
prior to experiencing this hurricane.
So you look at children.
And you think they're OK.
But it was amazing.
They were like, would you pray with me?
I'm like, pray with you?
And I felt like, uh, Reverend Ike, the preacher.
HARRY SHEARER: [CHUCKLING]
LEAH CHASE: You know, I'm like, OK, I'll pray with you.
HARRY SHEARER: [CHUCKLING]
LEAH CHASE: But I'm telling you all this to say that we
have adapted.
We've changed.
But it's come at a cost.
And it still is a cost.
Uh, I consider anyone who lives in
New Orleans a pioneer.
I think, uh, it's got-- it's gotten better.
And I think you've been here long enough to see that.
But there's still--
it's not normal.
I think you have to make a commitment to a place.
So we've made that commitment.
And, uh, we will survive.
We just need, uh, you know, I think I ju-- what we've always
said-- other people to just sort of have a little empathy.
HARRY SHEARER: Thanks, Leah.
LEAH CHASE: All right.
[SINGING "THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS HAS BEEN MY
SALVATION"]