I Miss You Dr. Morris

Apr 3, 2010 by

L to R: Ray in NOLA, Sophmom, Loki, Dr. AShley Morris

New Orleans Geek Dinner July 14th, 2006 L to R: Ray in NOLA, Sophmom, Loki, Dr. Ashley Morris

Yesterday marked two years since Ashley Morris left this world. One of the most powerful voices in the New Orleans blogosphere suddenly silenced on April 2, 2008. I remember being stunned into immobility as I read his lovely Rollergirl wife’s post on his blog:

This is Hana, Ashley’s wife. I am sorry to tell you but Ashley passed away this morning, Wed. April 2, 2008 in Florida.

He was 44, the age I will attain this coming September. Way too young for his ticker to give out, but it did. I miss him terribly.

I think Greg Peters on Suspect Device said it best: ““Ashley was fire. Ashley was the furnace where the rage was forged, where the steam pressure built, where raw anger began its conversion to power and motion.” Ashley was the voice of New Orleans  unfiltered. He coupled the eloquence and facility with language of an English scholar with the willingness to say what no one else would and to express the rage we all felt as New Orleans was basically abandoned during and after the Flood. David Simon, a name known to all fans of The Wire, described Ashley’s profanity laced invectives thusly:

“I admired his sense of outrage; petulance and selfish rage are useless, but rightful and righteous anger has an essential place in our times. Ashley was angry on behalf of others, which in my mind makes all the difference. From what he wrote, I am convinced that Ashley loved his city and he loved the people of his city, and he was short and to the point with people who tried to [evade] the real questions using ad hominem and decorum and false civility. He spoke his mind.”

Yesterday I could not write about this, not on the anniversary of his death itself. Instead I did what we were doing when we first meet at a Geek Dinner in New Orleans, I met up with a bunch of local Cincy bloggers over beer and questionable humor. At one point I told them a bit about Ashley and raised a toast to him. There’s no Abita around here so I drank Red Stripe, getting as close to the Gulf Coast as I could.

Sophmom, an Atlanta based NOLA Blogger pulled together a great collection of links to memorials across the Gulf Coast blogosphere. Check them out, and you will see why the Excellence in Blogging Award at Rising Tide is named for Ashley. See why he has become the Crescent City’s Patron Saint of Blogging. See why we are al poorer, wherever we are, that his voice is silenced. (Also be warned, we Gulf Coast Bloggers are a NSFW group).

I ask that you go to his blog, read what he wrote, and visit the blogs of my dear friends in New Orleans who are mourning this terrible loss. I’m posting links to those who’ve written about him, many (if not most) with pictures, and I will add updates as posts appear. Please start with Greg, Ray (and with Councilperson Shelly Midura’s homage before the council), Adrastos (and an audio tribute), Maitri, Schroeder, Loki, Liprap, Karen, Michael, Lisa, WetBankGuy (and more WBG), Mr. Clio, dsbnola, Bart, Dangerblond,Oyster, Blake, G-Bitch, Scout, Greg’s made a video (take a hanky), Saintseester (beautiful memorial icon), Charlotte, Tim, Varg, Celcus,Animamundi, Alan, JudyB, Cliff, Cenlamar, New Package, Video of Oyster & Ashley (thanks to Blake), Barbawit, Nancy Nall with a unique and moving tribute and Ray talks about “playing it sad”, Micheal Tisserand for Gambit Weekly, YatPundit’s Kos Diary, Dangerblond’s post about the newly established memorial fund has a great picture, Remember Ashley Morris (geek mourning activism)….

He is the NSFW Patron Saint of New Orleans Bloggers, and as one of their number I salute his memory. he was also my friend, and It pains me that since I live in Cincinnati now I can no longer honor his memory by grabbing an oyster po-boy and and Abita beer to enjoy in the humid heat of the Crescent City.

I’m going to close with a video homage put together by Greg Peters a few days after “The Perfesser” left the building:

Damn you Ashley, you made me cry again this year. FYYFF!

[xposted to: HumidCity | CincyVoices | SocialGumbo]

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8 Comments

  1. Oh, darlin’. I think about the night that picture was taken, the night I finally met y’all in person, so often, how much you’ve changed my life, and how much for the better. Walking into that courtyard to be actually among you for the first time was like coming home.

    Ashley’s parting left voids that won’t be filled, but which live through those who stand around them, those who honor them and keep them, the spaces where Ashley was. I guess that’s how we have to love those we can never get used to losing, by holding their places as best we can, or as best we should. You guys do the heavy lifting, after Hana, you and Greg, Mark and Mark, Peter, Ray, Chris, Jeffrey, even Mr. Simon in a way, Rising Tide too. I wonder what Ashley would think of it all.

    Our time is so short, so fragile. Lovely post, Loki. Thank you.

  2. Nice tribute, Loki. I didn’t know Ashley, but I wish i had.

  3. Lisa

    Beautiful remembrance Loki. I will always regret having never met Ashley.

    • *fuck* about 100 times today. Aftter the third time, (I’m not in the habit of using the word), Renard asked me what the deal was and I told him it was in honor of Ashley. ]I have heard Ashley’s voice making wrikcsaces in my head for the last two days, leading me to the conclusion that you are right. He want’s us to laugh. It’s been hard, really hard and I cried a lot tonight but I laughed, too.Thanks for reminding us.

  4. Thank you for the great remembrance, Loki.

  5. So many things conspired to remind me of him yesterday: Zevon’s music, news of DePaul University, maps he made for Karen. Here’s to the big guy; we were fortunate to know him.

  6. Every time I read an Ashley Morris blog entry I feel like I missed the party. :/

  7. Thanks for this Loki…a fitting tribute and insight to a man who succeeded in one of the hardest tasks in life – being himself.

    Wish I’d had the chance to shake yer hand, Perfesser…so I’ll lift a tankard and salute ye! Ye live on in yer family, yer friends, yer students…and in the spirit o’ the city ye loved!

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