Jabberwalk: What Lord David Really Thinks of New Orleans
I got an email today from my friend, The Mermaid. And yes, she is.
She has a friend who is moving to town, and wants to write a nonfiction book about New Orleans and the events here, Post-K, of special interest to many considering the flooding of the Upper Mississippi.
She (the friend) was nice enough to include a questionaire. I couldn’t manage to answer a single question. They just didn’t seem to make sense to me for some reason. Not wanting to be ill mannered or let anybody down (Y’all know I NEVER do those things…) I responded as best I could, finding somehow, elusive truths I didn’t know I knew. Or something. Anyway, here is my response. Or whatever the hell it is.
Your comments, as always, are appreciated.
Hello and thanks for showing enough interest to write about New Orleans, never mind moving here. It’s a decision you will rethink many times, as the future unfolds, and ultimately see as the Beginning of Your New Orleans Life. This is an event relatively few people experience, and one inexplicably profound.
I would love to discuss, in writing or otherwise, the things you ask about in your email, which The Mermaid forwarded to me. In typical N.O. style, I cannot tell you anything of merit by answering prefab questions. The answers would be as card board cut out as the questions (How does America see New Orleans? How the hell should I know? They’re out there and I’m down here…you buying the next round?)
Please feel free to carry on as much discussion as possible. I’ll certainly give it my best shot. In fact, I’ll try to address your questionnaire, but in my own way, as that’s all I have.
I will say that people here are sicker of hearing about ‘what happened during Katrina’ then anybody else in the country. We’ve largely rebuilt our neighborhoods ourselves, little by little. Non-profits have done a lot of good work in the lower nine, while too many of those Non-Profiteers lunch daily at Commanders Palace on the donation dime.
State and federal monies are still trickling in, although ex-Gov. Blanco funded bull frog festivals and home comings while families lived in formaldehyde trailers, local governments planted much needed palm trees (?) through the center of town while St Bernard Parish still lacks water in some areas, and we seriously lack mental health facilities while Mayor ray Nagin spent $7000 of tax payer money on personal dinner excursions and is presently in South Africa during Vacation Season, with six (yes 6) assistants, doing god knows what as we sweat out hurricane season.?
I frequently share the news that we are the northern most city of the Caribbean and a third world country all our own. How else could the Feds ‘rethink’ wetland development and reclaiming, putting off funding for another five or six years, or until Louisiana can cough up a billion dollars in cash.?
But I ramble. I have trouble answering the questions inside those neat little lines, as there are too many stories interconnected behind the scenes. As for Iowa having ‘their Katrina’, I’m sorry. They had a flood. Katrina was an event where the government of the USA and the State of Louisiana played Look Away for almost a week while people died in the streets. The bar has been reset, and their relief and especially media coverage was stellar. While surviving a flood and it’s aftermath are horrible experiences, the world is watching now. They do so because of the hundreds who died UNNECESSARILY, only to have our President stand in Jackson square and lie through his fucking teeth, making promises he has yet to keep. He won’t do that again. Even George W. knows he wouldn’t get away with it. This time he even flew home from Paris. During Katrina, he couldn’t tear himself away from eating birthday cake with John McCain as an old woman sat dying in her wheelchair outside the sweltering horror of the Superdome.
Yeah, maybe I’m a little pissed off. Or maybe I’ve simply opened my eyes. Maybe I’ve seen behind the curtain, where the little man tells lies and blows smoke and tends them all with his message of fear. I’ve certainly seen a city full of The Lost & Forgotten rise up, get to work, cross party, racial and economic lines to rebuild The City That Changed My Life.
So how do I feel about New Orleans post-K?
It was a gift from heaven.
A gift of truth.
A vision of community so vested in each other that material things mattered noticeably less, & there was that glint in the eyes of complete strangers that told you they were strangers no more.
Life goes on.
New Orleans goes on.
It lives and breathes like a leviathan in the swamp.
Old worldly, decidedly unsober, mannered in it’s own lingo, beautiful, decrepit and wildly free.
I strongly suggest a visit after you get settled in. Let’s meet for coffee, an afternoon snack, an evening cocktail and some late night drinking.
All in a row.
Bring back up, a bible, an airplane bag or whatever puts you at ease.
Let me be one of the many who will graciously introduce you to the most Beautiful Drunken Whore of a City that ever Saved Your Soul.
Just be prepared.
To fall in love with her, that is.
Your gonna be one of us now.
Welcome home, darlin.
We been waiting…
Pirate & Artist