The Long and Winding Road: The Lady in 2020

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Wow… it’s so hard to believe it’s already September; 9 months into the most tumultuous year Im sure most of us can remember. I cant really say time has flown… if anything even the last week alone has been a full year. Our communities, our economy, the way of life we comfortably took for granted, seemingly everything we know has been deeply scarred by 2020’s upheavals.

For those of us at The Dark Lady, 2020’s changes forced a timeline that had been in the works for a while to come to the fore in ways we did not expect… the shop we had for the last 3 years on New Orleans’ Magazine Street was a lovely and lively jewelbox of delights and wild color, but she was at the same time roughly 340 useable square feet of space we were rapidly outgrowing. While we established our place in the community, our own community growth outpaced our ability to host events in even the pre-pandemic world, with our classes and misas simply growing too crowded for a comfortable spiritual experience. We had been talking about ways to expand, include, partner, and grow even as Mardi Gras swept the city… and then Covid happened.

New Orleans rapidly grew to be an early epicenter of the infection, and our city government wisely responded with swift shut-downs of businesses and activities that were not essential to the healthcare and infrastructural needs of city safety and governance in an effort to encourage stay-at-home quarantines and the safety or resident families, even restricting surface road travel to essential-only via police stops and checkpoints. In the wake of the Carnival season, the ability for small businesses and shops such as ours to do business ground to a halt and the long hardship began.

Knowing that Covid would be around for the long haul, and knowing that our precious jewelbox was already too small even before Social Distancing would become our new normal, we made the decision to shut the doors for good and begin the process of relocation in a slow and measured way. Knowing that inventory would need to be boxed and stored for an unknown time forced us to turn off the shopping capability of this site (our deepest apologies to those who have tried to process an order; with product boxed up in a garage and two storage units, and massive problems of shipping delays for both restocking and customer delivery, it was just impossible to maintain) while we looked for a location that could better suit our needs in the new era we are finding ourselves in.

In the immediate aftermath of the first wave of Covid-19, the struggle for American racial equality came to the fore with the murder of George Floyd and the nationwide protests fighting institutionalized racism; as The Dark Lady has since its inception served communities of color and practices both traditionally African and born in the African Diaspora, we knew it was more important to join and support than to sell and to profit, and the need for a replacement space took a back seat to the use of our platforms for social justice and change.

As is often the case, though, in the world of spiritual work, resisting the urge to struggle against the flow and trusting Spirit to guide us through the perilous waters was the right decision. Spirit always comes through, though sometimes in ways we didnt expect. We have been blessed with an amazing new facility that will be opening officially very, very soon, but with blessings come sacrifices and seemingly difficult decisions.

In order to keep our level of service and to continue to provide the finest in ritual materials and practitioner-made magical goods at a reasonable and not-artificially-inflated price, while seeking a large enough venue to ensure safe physical distancing for customers and staff, we had to make the difficult decision to leave the bosom of the City of New Orleans. Our new home is a lovely 2,000 square foot shop-and-temple building with a large parking lot, reading rooms and retail space large enough to ensure safe social distancing while expanding our range of products, and an amazingly large temple room that can host safely distanced classes and events, easily and conveniently accessible by car in the city of Gonzales, Louisiana (roughly 40 minutes to the West of the New Orleans airport and 20 minutes to the East of Baton Rouge mere minutes from Interstate 10).

I know it may seem strange to lead with “We have a parking lot!”, but after 3 years on a very busy section of Uptown NOLA’s primary shopping street, it’s truly something to celebrate! We are also now fully wheelchair accessible, a meaningful improvement over the charming but sadly non-ADA-compliant space we previously occupied. One of the most exciting things for us, though, is a full kitchen production facility to produce our own products on site!

The next few weeks will have many announcements, online classes, unveilings, and overhauls, so definitely stay tuned to this blog, our facebook page, and our Instagram page; many exciting things are coming and we truly cant wait to share them (safely!) with you all. We are incredibly grateful for your patience and support during the seemingly uncountable years that have passed since just the early Spring and cant wait to officially begin the next flowering of The Dark Lady of New Orleans (well… New Orleans in spirit at least.) With any luck we can all laugh, dance, and light those candles together soon.

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