Firefighters raising the American Flag at Ground Zero
11 September 2001
"Some day my prince will come.
Some day we'll meet again.
And away to his castle we'll go.
To be happy forever, I know."
- Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (1937)
I didn't plan to be in Paris on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 - but I'm so glad that I was. It's just coincidence that this momentous anniversary fell on the same day as one of Patricia's soirees. It turned out to be a unique, poignant, and beautiful combination...
Maharajah Indian Restaurant
72, boulevard Saint-Germain
This may seem to be an...odd, or at least a most unusual, place to gather to observe such a sad, momentous day. But leave it to the amazing Patricia Laplante Collins to work her usual magic: gather a diverse crowd of multinational people, add amazing conversation, music, food and wine - et voila!
The lovely Patricia
In a small private room, about 30 people gathered. As usual great conversation flowed around the room. But this night it was a bit muted, almost hushed. People smiled, even laughed. The vibe was very comfortable (as always) but we were all painfully aware of what this day meant. I was feeling very emotional and I know that I was not the only one.
As I wandered the room, snapping pictures, I heard snippets of conversation. Some polite introduction, others were greeting friends not seen in a long while. We willingly gathered, but I know that I was not alone in wondering what was going to happen. After everyone was seated, Patricia began by giving a short introduction of everyone in the room - by memory (amazing). Then she introduced the featured 'speakers' for the evening, explaining that she invited them because of their talent and their desire to create an evening in dedication to 9/11 and the heroism, honor, and strength of the American people...
Mooneer (African singer)
World Music, Jazzy Folk, Soul
"You got a fast car.
I want a ticket to anywhere.
Maybe we can make a deal.
Maybe together we can get somewhere.
Anyplace is better.
Starting from zero, got nothing to lose.
Maybe we'll make something.
But me myself, I got nothing to prove."
Mooneer & Elias began the evening's musical dedication. They began with a stirring rendition of Tracey Chapman's Fast Car (1988). Though this song was released 13 years before 9/11, it perfectly captured the mood of the days following that horrific day. We (the American people) all wanted 'out.' We all wanted to get some place better. You could have heard a pin drop - just gorgeous!
The evening's headliner was Michele Barbier. An Algerian born French chanson (singer of french caberet songs), Madame Barbier is primarily inspired by Josephine Baker (so you know that I was into her before she sang a single note)! She sang a beautiful rousing rendition of my favorite La Baker song - J'ai deux amours (1931). Basically, the song is about a woman (Josephine) singing about her two loves: her home country (the U.S.) and Paris - yeah, everyone sang along (we could totally relate). But her best moment was when she sang a song she wrote while watching the live U.S. television coverage of 9/11. It was in French but, before she sang it, she recited the lyrics in English.
"Un jour mon prince viendra..."
But the best part of the evening came when Mooneer introduced a lovely young lady sitting by his side - Nkia Asong. She sang a duet with Mooneer, but Nkia really shined when she performed her solo.
Mkia picked up Fouzi's guitar and proceeded to offer her personal dedication to our 9/11 fallen and the loved ones they left behind (who grieve for their loves, to this day, and for always) - Some Day My Prince Will Come. Though she sang it in French, in a truly lovely soft raspy voice, everyone understood every word. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
There was a lovely contingent of SistahDivas
It was a simple, lovely, poignant, stirring, beautiful night. I was profoundly touched and so proud to be an American. There Mom, Mr. Gorgeous and I were - in an Indian restaurant, deep in the heart of Paris, with fellow Americans and multinational people(s) - friends, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It was amazing and I'm so happy and proud that we were a part of it - see why I love Paris?
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!