This blog should be sponsored by Kleenex today (I’m here Kleenex-show me the money). I promise it won’t be a sad post, heck, I’m the Princess of Positive. But, I am one week one day post-hysterectomy now. My hormones are all over the graph! UGH!!!!! So here I am lying my butt on the couch all day, sleeping on and off and watching mindless television. I keep watching those Kleenex commercials, you know, the one when the guy has a couch in the middle of the road (reminds me of the Free Hugs campaign). Well today, the Princess of Positive, who maybe cries once a year, cried for no apparent reason while watching the dang heart-tugging Kleenex commercials.
Being the web junkie, I surfed and found the Kleenex web page. They have bios of those that sat on the couch on the website. How bout this, the first gal highlighted is from New Orleans? Gotta love teh internets! I introduce you to the bio of Gina Berneal from New Orleans.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I wouldn’t live in any other place. I produce plays, [Gina founded a theatrical company called Souls on Stage or SOS when she was 12 years old and her first play titled "St. Ides" was shown on Bravo] participate in live slam poetry competitions and was once ranked the best bartender in the city by Swizzle magazine. I’m the only girl with three brothers â€“ I helped send my little brother to West Point and he returned to New Orleans and founded an organization called I.D.E.A. which supports the city through programs such as providing school supplies and mentoring for kids. I’m somewhat of an activist for anyone who is an underdog or who is suffering.
My mother is still alive and she married my wonderful stepfather after my biological father died. I’m a tomboy and I love music. I’m a “for the people” person and my driving force is empathy.
What did you “let out” while on the couch?
My grandfather came from a family of people who communicate. He did a documentary, and lots of people knew him from that. He was a special man and even though he suffered from Alzheimer’s in his late 80′s to mid 90′s, he always remembered me. He was a strong man and he was evacuated to the VA hospital during
hurricane Katrina. My grandmother was with him but he died because he needed to be fed through a tube and wasn’t for six or seven days.
New Orleans is still devastated. It really is called the “Big Easy” for a reason so even the rebuilding is slow. But you can’t explain the mass suffering of people in New Orleans. Everyone knows everyone. Families are so rooted here. I wanted to get across the extent of the suffering.
I lost my house three months after remodeling what had been my grandmother’s house and in which I always wanted to live. I lost about 250 poems â€“ I lost
my life’s work. I lost 30 people from the east, from the 7th Ward. There is a school that several people were evacuated to â€“ everyone who sheltered there died. Entire families are born, live and marry within your Ward. So people evacuated, scattered or died with their families, and we don’t yet know the full extent of loss.
What has been the reaction to the commercial?
Since the commercial came out people have contacted me and told me all the steps they took to try to find me. My mother’s house was 2 blocks from the levee so many people thought I was dead. I had evacuated before the storm because my mother begged me to.
What was it like to let it out in such a unique situation and why do you think you felt safe to share in such a public situation?
I felt free especially because it was by the river. I realized I was waiting for the opportunity but I didn’t know how â€“ I put out the intention in the atmosphere. All I wanted to do from the beginning was to let it out but I didn’t know how.
If you want to get the Kleenex out with me (couldn’t pinpoint the ad Gina was in)
I leave you with a funny one