“[A front porch] provided a way to socialize with the public and keep watch on what was going in the community, a place to meet with uninvited visitors who you wouldn’t necessarily want to take into the house, but wouldn’t want to feel unwelcome either. In this way, the cultural meaning of the front porch became a hybrid of West African and European ideas about how outsiders should be treated in and around the family home” (Cook, Dolan, Donlon, 2009).
In New Orleans, a house with a front porch provides an extension into the outside space. The front porch provides a place to connect with residents who live in the same house and as well with others in houses nearby. For some, front porches are the place to “let go” of work, school, or other things potentially hazardous to sanctity of inside. Safe haven is another term to describe porches.The front porch at 3922 Buchanan Street in the Seventh Ward where I grew up was where I spoke to neighbors, played games with my friends, and ate frozen cups. It was the place where I observed the goings on of neighbors across the street, neighbors next door to me, and as well my neighbors who lived across St. Bernard Avenue in and near the St. Bernard Project.
It was on porches along Buchanan, Caton, Foy, St. Bernard, and Milton streets that exchanges of knowledge and conversations occurred. Front porch interactions and observations of the spaces around me added to my formal education provided at Edward H. Phillips Elementary and Junior High Schools.
Dr. Lisa’s Front Porch is a space where exchange of cultural and personal front porch experiences will occur. Neighbors near and far will contribute to front porch conversations and observations about preparing teachers, supporting veteran educators, and stories of education in New Orleans.
Happy New Year, baby, see you next month!