Profile Response: Gina Champion & Phyllis Wursteisen, New Orleans, LA

HWWLT Logo on yellow“So, you want to interview me to see if I have an acceptable place to spend the night?” Gina Champion met me with worthy skepticism. Shannon Weber, whom I met in San Francisco, suggested I stay with Gina when in New Orleans. Gina and I had exchanged emails. She offered me a place for the night, though she was going out. I suggested we meet late afternoon, as I don’t like to stay in the homes of people I haven’t met. The point of my adventure is to meet people, not snare free digs.

Although our messages communicated accurate information, they lacked warmth. Fortunately, within ten minutes of sharing beers on Gina’s porch, our affinity clicked. Gina laughed when she understood I was not interviewing her to vet a place to stay. I immediately accepted her invitation to join Gina and partner Phyllis for a female-dominant evening at a Canal Street club; not an invitation she was inclined to make an unknown man until she discovered we were GBLTQ related.

imgresGina and Phyllis are Crescent City natives. Gina was briefly married to a man and has a 26-year-old son; she and Phyllis have been together over twenty years. “People from New Orleans never leave, but we had this urge to explore.” They moved to San Francisco in 2008. Two years later they put everything in storage and travelled the world. Phyllis said, “All my people are here. When we said we were moving to San Francisco, both families thought we were crazy. When we said we would travel the world, they thought we were off our rocker.” Their plan was to be gone a year, but after spending five months in Asia and Europe, family needs pulled them back to New Orleans.

images-1 images

The best adventures expose us to new people, new ideas, and help us better appreciate our homes when we return. “We didn’t realize how racist New Orleans was until we lived in San Francisco. This is a gay friendly city, in pockets, but about a year ago we had a series of gay bashing incidents.” Still, The Big Easy’s problems cannot eclipse the city’s charms. “There is a soul in this city. How can we get that good news out?”

How will we live tomorrow?

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.23.11 AM“I am a pessimist. The country is going to shit. The going to shit of America will lead us back to provincialism. That will return us to community. Will it also reinforce bigotry and prejudice?” – Gina

“When we first moved back to New Orleans, we lived in an area where people were petty and ugly. When we moved to this neighborhood, those people were surprised. All of our neighbors here are black. I like living in a black neighborhood. They mind their business, I mind mine, but we keep our eye on each other.” – Phyllis

 

Advertisements

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
This entry was posted in Responses and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s