Gone Five Hundred Miles When the Day is Done

The past two weeks have been a sort of gray blur.

I’ve had a huge amount of work to do both at My Crummy Job and around the house, getting ready for the huge Labor Day bash. There have also been peripheral issues, a summer cold, emotional aches and pains and, of course, Hurricane Katrina.

The destruction of New Orleans is not a sharp pain for me. I have no relatives there, no roots. And although I’ve wanted to for years, I’ve never even been there. So, not a sharp pain. But the place is part of the soul of this country, the sweaty engine room of hot jazz and rock’n’roll, a mirage of dancing, laughing, singing and partying, a magical city where the laws of gravity seem not always to apply.

And when I see the mess that has become of that city, and I read and hear, day after day, of the chaos and suffering with no realistic end in sight, it just weighs me down. I can get through the days, of course, and so can the rest of us, but it feels to me as if the whole country has been harmed and saddened by this disaster. We can still laugh and sing, but everything is dampened a little by the specter of this tremendous loss. Maybe I am only imagining this, but it seems to me that everyone is at least a little down. Anyway, I know I am.

The entire city has been deserted. It will be rebuilt, of course. That’s what we do. We stand in the face of adversity, and build an even bigger edifice, just to show who’s boss. We’ll put up new buildings, pile up higher levees, grade new roads, dedicate new schools and talk a lot about the resilience and spirit of the place and its people. And one day in the future New Orleans will be a real city again, with a genuine past. But no one today will live long enough to see this. For us, what has happened is effectively permanent. The old city will now be folded into history.

Long may its legend live.

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15 Replies to “Gone Five Hundred Miles When the Day is Done”

  1. You seem to think that New Orleans is gone like Atlantis. You could be right, but I think it will be rebuilt and that much, not all, of it will be the same. It hasn’t lost its culture, it’s merely had its people dispersed. It hasn’t lost its attraction to musicians and artists, they’ve merely holed up elsewhere for the time being. Maybe I’m wrong, but a person can hope until hope is gone.

  2. I’ve been to New Orleans twice. Been in the cemetary where they shot Easy Rider. Got let into a seedy dive Jazz club while the rest of my friends were told that it was a private party and could not come in.

    Trolleys. Beautiful old houses. Music. Art. And a little danger if you don’t watch where you’re going. The things that make all great cities so much fun.

    It’ll be back. Give it a few years, or ten.

  3. I go to New Orleans every year. I plan on going next year. I have both good and bad memories…part of my life though. Good and bad.

    Great to have you back. I’ve been going through Rev99 withdrawals.

  4. Ironically, the old New Orleans still stands and it will be ready for visitors soon, I’m sure. The rest will take time but The Quarter and the people who lived and worked there will be the first back on their feet. I have a trip planned for March and, by God, I’ll be there.

  5. I believe that the Quarter was spared much of the water destruction since it is on the Mississippi side (slightly higher). But with all of the other infrastructure destroyed, you have to wonder if the economy will be able to support itself. The economy of rebuilding will help, maybe tourism in a year or two.

  6. “The entire city has been deserted. It will be rebuilt, of course. That’s what we do. We stand in the face of adversity, and build an even bigger edifice, just to show who’s boss. We’ll put up new buildings, pile up higher levees, grade new roads, dedicate new schools and talk a lot about the resilience and spirit of the place and its people”

    Damn straight! Now S.Y.T & I’ll toss you some pretty, sparkly beads! (o;

  7. Jack – Another upbeat comment. I hope you’re all right about this.

    T1 – You want to see my tits?

    Steph – You were free? I screwed up again.

    Popeye – Welcome to revision99, where the screams are not always silent.

    L – Yes, it is sad. For what it’s worth, I think the musicians who have come out of there will keep writing and playing. So the music will be around, although maybe a little harder to find. But that will make it more satisfying, won’t it?

  8. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities i the world. My wife and I go at least once a year. It will be back – It’s the people of the great city that have made it what it is.

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