It Is With Great Sadness

We will miss her smile and her humor. Marcia Kat Tracked with us to Paris, Tuscany and twice to Australia. My heart is heavy.

Marcia G. Cooke, the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge in Florida history, died Friday after an 18-year career on the bench in Miami.

Cooke, 68, struggled for months with inoperable cancer after she had been admitted last June to Mount Sinai Hospital and underwent surgery for a pulmonary embolism after a trip to Australia with friends, according to people close to her. She then stepped down from the federal bench in the Southern District of Florida before spending her final weeks in her hometown of Detroit with family.

Tailor Made Vietnam

One of the most beautiful countries in the world that unfortunately does not get its due justice. Trust and believe, we bring love and they give love. This will be my 4th visit and I cannot wait to return. You will get to experience this specially curated tour with Kattrax. You will visit North, South and Central Vietnam and for those that opt for the 3 night Bangkok extension will enjoy the beautiful country of Thailand. Aspiring chefs will enter the famed kitchen of the Blue Elephant Cooking School for a one of a kind culinary experience. As I write this blog, I passionately feel every bit of it.

Those on the Interested List have already received the paperwork and are already locking in. There may be room for a few more. I don’t know but If you are interested…do not delay as the max on this intimate tour is 30. Kattraxonline.com has already been updated so check it out.

Kat’s Kibbles and Bits

United States, imagine nationwide not one airline was allowed in the sky. I was stuck in Savannah for a couple hours after the announcement was made at 530am eastern time and most of you all were still asleep on the west coast.  Finally up and running things became a domino effect. Thus next being stuck at DFW, no crews to fly and flights backed up.  My arrival gate was A 2 which was literally almost 2 miles from my next departure gate; D2.   Thank God for wheelchairs. 3  wheelchairs, 2 electric carts, 2 elevators and the train. I made it to my gate but still another long delay. Smdh but patience is key. It is what it is until it ain’t what it ain’t.  Travel these days is  filled with more hiccups and rough spots than ever.

 In a few weeks myself and the Ghana group will be on our way, followed by the Afro Colombia group a few weeks after, followed by the Black Paris group a few weeks after that. My advice to all travelers whether with me or not; Ask the Lord for what is known to be a virtue; PATIENCE! Stay calm and go with the flow.

KATTRAX NEWS: What’s available this year:

April – Black Paris – April 27-May 4th Space for 2

July – Negril Getaway July 20-27 – Only Kings, Twins, Kitchenettes. All Oceanview and Suites have been sold out.

October – Dubai/Abu Dhabi Oct 6-15 – 1 room

November – Egyptian Odyssey with Optional Red Sea 4 night extension – Only space for 6 participants.

What’s Happening in 2024?

March – Vietnam & Thailand. Visit Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang (hotel across from the beach), Hoi An (cooking capital, with class at Red Bridge, get clothes made; Hanoi with day trip to Ha Long Bay. A spa treatment included at each hotel. All followed by 3 nights in Bangkok which will include a cooking class and lunch at the world famous Blue Elephant. Sign ups will go out next week to those on the interested list.

August- Kenya Safari & Zanzibar SOLD OUT

December – The Maldive Islands – Info coming soon

Until next time, take care of yourself.
Kat

Hope Is On The Horizon

Next month is Black History Month and you are invited to attend an amazing health fair where the focus will be on physical and mental health awareness in our communities, sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Alumnae Chapters. Not to be missed!

CHEVALIER, WHO WAS HE?

Based on the true untold story of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer. The illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner who rose to unbelievable heights in French society, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court.
The movie comes out in April around the same time we will be in Paris with our 2 groups, “ Strolling through Black Paris”. Perhaps it will be playing at the UCG George V on the Champs Elysees; a mere 5-10 minute “Stroll” from our hotel in the chic 16th arrondisement. Do you want to “Stroll” with us? We have a room with a view for you.
See the Trailer.

Isn’t She Lovely?

I met her 60 years ago. She is the mother of my BFF, Margaret Ware Nicholson. She is endearingly referred to by her family and friends as Mo Mama. She is just as sweet now as she was back then. This is what 100 years young looks like. God is good and HIS mercy everlasting.

LOOKIN’ BACK, BUT WE MUST KEEP IT MOVIN’

It’s been one heck of a year.  2019….Damn… Was it good, bad or indifferent?  Well for me; it was a good year.  I learned some valuable lessons and for that I am extremely grateful.  The scripture says, “In all your getting… get an understanding. I understand very clearly that if God doesn’t will it, it just ain’t happening.   2019 I was getting, or got married and now I’m not….Aint that about a bitch?   It just wasn’t God’s will.  Am I sad? Upset? Not in the least.  In times such as these, when we get knocked down, we get back up, dust ourselves off and keep it movin’.

2019 we hit Ghana, Paris, Vietnam, Colombia, Negril, Italy, Fiji, Tanzania, Zanzibar, The Serengeti, Morocco, Marseille, Egypt, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  It was one heck of a wild ride and thank you to those that joined us on the adventures.  You saw and learned some new things, met some new travelers and your lives have been enriched by all of these things.   In 2020, I invite you to bring your 20/20 vision and join us for Afro Colombia, Black Paris, Alaska, North Sea Jazz and Iceland, Negril, South Africa, Egypt, and The Maldive Islands.  There is space available on some if any of these destinations strike your fancy.  Inbox me at rivoli98@yahoo.com

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and most prosperous 2023 Remember:  Keep it movin’.  Kat can’t stop, won’t stop.  It’s my passion.  It’s my purpose in life to take you to places you have only dreamed of.  What’s New? Stroll Through Black Paris has space for two: APRIL 27- MAY 4, 2023.  Join us to enjoy the best West Indian/African restaurants, the best African American historical tour by private bus with the  most knowledgeable Ricki Stevenson, founder of Black Paris Tours, slip away with us to the Champagne Region for an afternoon of champagne, lunch & Jazz, see the Louvre, enjoy a shopping excursion, and who else is going to show you Paris by Night in 4 stretch limos with handsome black bilingual chauffeurs?  Nobody but these 2 sistas from the Bay; Kat St Thomas & bilingual Robin Bates.  Space for 2 and it won’t last long.  Inbox me at rivoli98@yahoo.com

Strolling Through Black Paris in Review

How ya gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Black Par-ee? At least the way Robin & Kat presents it. I’ve been at it 4 decades, Robin & I together 2 decades. I started the ‘Stroll” before 2000. Robin and I were the Black Paris Divas in early 2000. We were it, really though, “the shit” because we were the trailblazers. We were the Divas before there were any others. Now it’s Diva this and Diva that in the world of travel. We have been often imitated but never duplicated. We started taking folks to Josephine Baker’s mansion 5 hours from Paris when folks in Paris had no clue how to get there.

No matter what, we have fun; dining at our most frequented black owned restaurants, patronizing our black professional bilingual private chauffeurs from when they worked for the man but now years later own their own transportation companies, handling Paris Fashion Week, Chanel receptions, and international sporting events etc. We haven’t forgotten them and they haven’t forgotten us. They will be at our service in April. Oh, there is a room or two available. It’s been sold out for months but cancellations do happen.

It gives me great joy to see pictures of Sakari at the age of 2 while babysitting her in my Paris apartment and she’s 9 talking about traveling to Osaka Japan for Expo 2025. A few years back Yvette Binns was with us with her daughter Michelle both Deltas, now Michelle with a daughter of her own. Next year will be a real treat taking the group to the champagne region for tasting, lunch & Jazz. So many have told me, “ I want to do your Stroll Through Black Paris”. I say to them, “Well what are you waiting for”?

We Not Only Travel

As I prepare to return home after 2 weeks in the Bay with family; I’m reflecting on other projects I’ve been involved in. One of the most important has been my prison ministry which now has come to a close. I had at least 20 inmates on my team; AK47, most serving time in the FBOP, Federal Bureau of Prisons. Why AK47? It was the initials of myself and an inmate and our birth years when that firearm was manufactured. We prayed at the 3 count times and my Muslim brothers prayed more than that. I spent hundreds on ink, paper and postage. After a tour they would be eagerly awaiting my blogs showing most of the young men a world they never imagined existed outside of the concrete and razor wire they faced daily. They weren’t selfish. My blogs were passed around the penitentiary and when they went home they buzzed in another to the family. Some of those young men had children so I had to think about them. So thus became Kat’s KOI ( kids of inmates). You know the legend of the Koi fish: They made their way upstream going against the current, building strength and perseverance. That’s what these kids had to do. A big thank you to my blog followers that contributed at times for Christmas. Now all dads are home. Well the last 2, one last month and one next week.

Prayer changes things and if you didn’t know, watch this: M. Curry Designs – 15 yr sentence, home in 2018, a major player in the Seattle art scene, commissioned to paint murals all over the city. Another, life WITHOUT the possibility of parole, did 23 yrs now home with a barber business. 2 youngsters out of high school, co defendants, sentenced to 11 life sentences plus 220 years of enhancements served about 13yrs. Nobody was killed but that was truly overkill by the state of California. Their case picked up by the Innocence Project. They are both home now with families of their own. Another with a real estate business, another same job 6 yrs. My beloved Cuzzo served 17 years now with a transportation company. The last 2 to be released did 12 yrs each with a date of 2029. Thank God, home for the holidays 2022. I’d like to add that now that some have paid their debts they are now traveling with Kat to Jamaica, Egypt, South Africa and Dubai and legitimately flying First Class. One said, “If it’s over 2 hrs I gotta be in First or Business”. That’s what’s up! I had a hand in that spoiling. His mother couldn’t be there for his release so I flew him home first class. When we stepped up to TSA he was addressed as Mr. No inmate number. These men are definitely treating themselves not cheating themselves.

Check out the artwork – Amazing! http://www.mcurrydesigns.com