Sunday, September 04, 2005

i miss new orleans

If you've heard any of the righteous alluding to the modern day "Sodom and Gomorrah" or any of the smug remarking that anybody with any sense would not live there, just remember: when hurricanes batter Florida, earthquakes shake California, tornados whip through Oklahoma or avalanches hit Colorado, there is always some asshole making obnoxious, hindsight-bloated commentary.

Like they knew this was going to happen. If you work in a high-rise: you should expect to die in a fire for being so foolish. If you live on California's coast: you deserve a mudslide for your ignorance. Inner city: drive-bys. Gulf Coast bathers: shark attacks. So—human nature being myopic, know-it-all and easily frightened—the people of New Orleans are now being subtly or outrightly blamed for their own misfortune. Or most offensive, some suggest that god was punishing the whole city for its sins.

All I can say in response is that I love(d) New Orleans. I've worked and vacationed there and those memories are full of wonderful images and laughter. New Orleans sounded, New Orleans tasted, New Orleans looked, like no other city I'd ever visited. It had a piquancy–visual and oral and aural. The people a rare mix of black, white, Cajun, Catholic and Voodoo. The decadent, wild Mardi Gras events were just a part (although a critical part) of the glittery whole cloth that made New Orleans. That and jazz musicians, beignets, cajun french and african art all combined in a figurative and literal culinary symbol: gumbo. And the architecture! Wrought iron gates, balconies, rich pastel colors and
french doors, all part of the charm. And I mean the verb, to charm: "To cast or seem to cast a spell on; bewitch."

So, in my own way, I pay homage to that wonderful American city and mourn with those that loved her best.

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