My little piece of Second Life Heaven is called “Chenier.”
Its existence is mainly an idea – that there ought to be a place women can go not to be hit on or bothered. Over the years, it’s become the Estate of Chenier, which now and then gets an actual Second Life estate, of which I am Comtesse. Ooh la la!
46 other women liked the idea enough to give up a group slot so they could get my bulletins when I first wrote this (it’s closer to 52 now, excluding the alts I use to help run things when we have land, or simply to support various Chenier narratives). The sim I had from 2012-2013, however, attracted about 350 visitors who weren’t on the Chenier group, and many of those were regular visitors.
I handed that sim back to my friend and landlady because I needed the monthly tier for travel expenses connected with the treatment of my rare cancer. After that, I found a place for us in the Ile de Femme women-only resort complex, in one of 42 sims.(please see “update” below for more on this).
I neither have rights to this idea nor want them. Ideally, every woman ought to be able to afford her own version of Chenier, done the way she likes. Until then, I’m delighted to share mine with whoever wants.
A “chenier” is a little island in a stream, estuary or river that is created when silt grows around oak trees or other large prominences. In south Louisiana, cheniers got big enough to live on, and some folks did just that. It was a precarious existence, as the Flickr pages of people who take pictures of cheniers in real life show. Hurricanes can wipe you out, storms and floods can wash you away, the Corps of Engineers can decide they want to flood your land.
There are so many other parallels between MY Chenier and real-life cheniers, I stopped counting. But I like to think OUR Chenier formed when a few of us said “enough!” – and we kept growing, but never very big, because there are a lot of ladies in SL who want to say “enough!” to some of the less intelligent and considerate people in SL – many (not all) of whom happen to be men. And some of us live on a Chenier, some adopt other ways of coping.
We’ll probably have men drop in (why don’t you give our avatars a “gender bit” security orbs can read, Linden Labs?); we’ll ask them to leave, then eject and ban them if they prove stubborn. Women who act like those men; we’ll deal with them, too – I’ve banned a few in the years I’ve built and run Cheniers. And every time the water washes our Chenier land away, I’ll build another, or borrow one, or whatever I have to do.
Randy Newman wrote a song called Louisiana 1927 about a flood that took many people’s homes away when it rolled through the lowlands south of New Orleans (his geography is a little sketchy – he mentions “Evangeline,” a town far from where that flood was).
But Louisiana 1927 combines the moods of resignation to floods, and determination to rebuild and go on with life. Marcia Ball did the best job of covering that song I’ve ever heard (although Aaron Neville also did a great job with it).
And so with our Chenier. Stuff will happen to the land we go off to for relaxation. Doesn’t matter. I set my Linden Home (a biggish one I made the most of by putting a park on its roof) aside for when we don’t have anyplace else to go. We’ll always have a place to go.
UPDATE: And sure enough, we’re back at the Embassy for now…
…because Ile de Femme, the ladies-only resort complex which graciously hosted Chenier on one of its islands, is no more. Those of us who were there mourn the passing of the complex, and we still get together on the one sim remaining from the 42-sim complex.
And once again, Chenier group is in its Embassy to the Second Life Mainlands until I get far enough ahead of the game to afford new property for us. This will take a month or two, but I think we can get what we had in Ile de Femme (minus the very nice company of our Ile de Femme sisters and neighbors) in one of a few other places.
Ideally, we ought to have access to both sailable water and flyable air, but our island in Ile de Femme wasn’t very large, so a not-very-large island elsewhere ought to suit us.
I have no idea whether Ile de Femme’s gone for good, or if there’s even a slight prospect it can be revived. The Second Life “country” on which most of it was built, Mar Lesbiana, seems to predate Ile de Femme itself. Oh, well, pray that I win the lottery, and then we’ll have Ile de Femme back… as part of Greater Chenier, maybe :-).