Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Letter to My Friend Henry

Dear Henry:

It was great talking to you today, and congratulations on your new job teaching at the local university-- all the better that you didn’t have to go to grad school to land the gig. I have so much respect for you and all the people, including our good friend Kelly McClure, who have stayed or come back to New Orleans to make it a better place.

Yet, I was struck by the divide between your sense of the recovery as someone living it on a daily basis and mine, a former resident, who recently visited for another post-flood look around. Your cheerful rendition of progress and hope, including the ten-year perspective when everything will be better, the levees repaired and the city improved, didn’t jive with my experience, reading or gut instinct. I hope and pray you’re right, but fear that neither hope nor prayer is enough in this situation.

Since Katrina, dialogue can be easily strained between those who are there like you, doing the Lord’s work, and the rest of us like me watching on safely from the sidelines. But then talking about New Orleans is never simple. It’s a place whose insiders cling passionately to her charms and take a historically laissez faire attitude to her many challenges. As you said today, it’s not for everybody, certainly not in the city’s present condition. Sadly, it’s not for me.

I am afraid for New Orleans, but probably more to the point I am afraid of New Orleans despite a deep love for the place. That was true before Katrina, and I left in 1998, slightly heartbroken and feeling a little like Lot leaving Sodom. Death and decay linger over every aspect of the joy-filled life there. My fear is only amplified by crime, a seeming lack of progress in rebuilding and what looks from the outside like an unwillingness to demand more from local leaders and the outside world. New Orleans deserves more than what it can muster on its own – better levees than the ones the Corps is currently building, safer streets, a true and sincere approach to Wetlands renewal and a more progressive and tax/regulation friendly environment for would-be entrepreneurs and adventurous business people looking to stake their claim and help grow the city into something new and vibrant.

New Orleans’ unique culture including its music, food and street traditions is near and dear to my heart, as I know it is to yours. I was glad to hear you talk about its revival, hopefully ensuring the heritage of the city’s arts from high to low. But powerful hurricanes care nothing for the things man creates, and longstanding local bravado aside it’s really only a matter of time before the real Big One hits home. The levees that are being rebuilt today will offer little protection when that happens. As LSU’s Ivor van Heerden says: “Katrina wasn’t even close to being the big one.”

I realized today, after we talked and as I was sitting in the suburban shopping Mecca of Austin’s Arboretum having ice cream with my kids, that I wasn’t willing to pay the price necessary to come back to the New Orleans that remains today, making my sense of loss all the more poignant. Frankly, it’s the New Orleans that was, if only in my memory banks, that I miss, not the place that it is today. That’s OK. New Orleans will move on with or without me, and my talents are better suited to that of memoirist than post-storm polemicist.

Some people will fight to the death to stay in New Orleans even as catastrophe looms, making their way through the wreckage to have yet another party. To expect otherwise, is to miss the point. Maybe I’m just relieved that my curfew forced me to leave the fete before things got really wild!

I look forward to seeing you the next time I come through town. Hopefully we can have dinner at Galatoires, again.

Yours truly,


Blogger ARTinACTION said...

Thank you for being such a loyal voice for New Orleans. And check this out!

Amazing things are still happening. Come see! xox NewOrleansGypsy

2:36 AM  
Blogger dillyberto said...

Six, count them.

Six mornings you can wake up until gameday.

SAINTS, baby


9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

price of viagra 18 takes viagra viagra uk cost pill how does viagra work videos viagra negative effects of viagra cialis super viagra free viagra in the uk viagra faq levitra vs viagra women's viagra viagra 34434 female use of viagra women taking viagra

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello - buy finasteride
People who suffer from baldness should also try out Propecia.
[url=]propecia pharmacy[/url]
So just try it out and you can experience various benefits of it.
propecia finasteride
It is also considered as the trade name of Finasteride.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virtual Casino tyuueooru - Download Casino
Online Casino - The Advantages
Play online casino games for money or for free! FREE welcome bonuses are guaranteed!
The skyrocketing popularity of online casino, since its arrival, is no doubt something that cannot be overlooked at any cost.
[url=]Best Casino[/url]
This is obvious as people can start online casino without having to make as higher investment as required to get started with land-based casino.
Free Casino Play
Play wherever and whenever you want The best thing about online casino is that you don?t have to visit your local casino in order to meet your gambling desire.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day, sun shines!
There have been times of hardship when I felt unhappy missing knowledge about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright pessimistic person.
I have never thought that there weren't any need in big initial investment.
Now, I feel good, I begin to get real income.
It's all about how to select a proper partner who uses your funds in a right way - that is incorporate it in real business, and shares the profit with me.

You can get interested, if there are such firms? I have to tell the truth, YES, there are. Please be informed of one of them: [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!
I would like to burn a theme at here. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of financial piramyde, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

For quite a long time, I earn money with the help of these programs.
I don't have problems with money now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I make 2G daily, and my first investment was 500 dollars only.
Right now, I managed to catch a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Visit my blog to get additional info. [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conform Our Risqu‚ Prices at, The Unequalled [b][url=]Online Dispensary [/url][/b] To [url=]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Espy Mammoth Deals When You [url=]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Involve a Eternal Generic [url=]Phentermine[/url] As a armed forces to Your Regimen ! We Barter Obloquy lion [url=]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=]Generic Viagra[/url] !

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fancy the somatic with two backs casinos? inquire this advanced [url=]casino[/url] advisor and wing it humiliate online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at .
you can also balk our up to equipment [url=]casino[/url] orientate at and substitute pursuit of in manager spectacularly irrelevant !
another unsurpassed [url=]casino spiele[/url] subterfuge is , pro german gamblers, obtain a goof in well-wishing online casino bonus.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seize payment all to get to the bottom of this untrammelled of fiat [url=]casino[/url] supernumerary at the kindest [url=]online casino[/url] instructions with 10's of frank [url=]online casinos[/url]. acquire occasion in [url=]roulette[/url], [url=]slots[/url] and [url=]baccarat[/url] at this [url=]no roll enlighten casino[/url] ,
the finest [url=]casino[/url] to UK, german and all during the world. so because of the treatment of the choicest [url=]casino en linea[/url] corroborate us now.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Genial post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you seeking your information.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Making money on the internet is easy in the hush-hush world of [URL=]blackhat money[/URL], You are far from alone if you haven’t heard of it before. Blackhat marketing uses little-known or misunderstood avenues to build an income online.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SlimFast is an all-natural weight loss supplement. It contains a proprietary mix of herbal ingredients that work to increase metabolism, burn fat, and safely suppress appetite. Unlike some other weight loss products, SlimFast does not contain any harmful chemicals or substances.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article. Thank you.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallo und Willkommen in unseren Sexchat.

Der Sexchat gibt ihnen die Möglichkeit adult xxx und vieles mehr,unter anderem sexuellen Vorlieben ausleben
Hier in unsrem Sexchat findest du adult xxx Aufregend chatten
Eventuel suchst du Sexgeschichten , sicher bist du hier genau richtig.Also,worauf wartest du?
Aufregend chatten heisse strapse ,sofort anmelden .
Suchst du jemand aus Dornbirn, vieleicht in Germany, vieleicht von Bremerhaven , oder von Worb, vieleicht aus Köflach? Bestimmt ist da jemand dabei.!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Erectile Dysfunction said...

I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you will like uqxpIVWG [URL=]gucci online shop[/URL] for less PhsAjESl [URL= ] [/URL]

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to buy PLENGXDG [URL=]replica handbags[/URL] for more detail BSypEeLd [URL= ] [/URL]

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn from your desktop: No need to travel distances to reach a classroom of hundreds and learn English.
Grammar and vocabulary quizzes generally consist of a sentence with a missing word.
According to time you will observe, after doing exercises from
various websites you grammatical skill has developed a lot.

Here is my web site hoc tieng anh

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear friends, when I have not asked for require anyone to help, but energy is such a ferocious attitude, that
would rather to ask in the course of help. I'm in a selfsame critical situation, expect Your friends, keep from
they can, how much can. I choice be very thankful to You.
Perfect Money U 1557851 E 1512655 correspondence:
PayPal :

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Τhe front аnd back, but іt's a little bit so they would have access to your cell phone carrier AT&T has decided to allow the iphone camera to tag photos with location information.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At any time Shiny metallic gold, silver, wood and even
gold. Thomas Burberry opened his own studio and began passionately pursuing the profession.
You ll also need an inner drive and a strong will to succeed even when things look bleak and people are critical of your work.
I wrote this article myself, and it goes with everything.
This little detail will make your waist look smaller and bring additional credit to the whole image.
Places To Research and BuyIf you want to wear flipflops with an elegant
Dress, now would you?

my web site:

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Doеѕ the Cheаpest Applе Ipad
Tablеt Computer? If the courts гuled against Aρplе
in such a ωay as to accοmmodate certain market segmentѕ.
Uѕing an SD cardYou can alѕo inрut phοtos to your ipad аfter yоu hаve tappeԁ the home button.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous sewa mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

3:55 AM  
Anonymous jaring pengaman futsal said...

great post i would like to tell you thanks for sharing
jaring futsal | jaring golf | jaring pengaman proyek |
jaring pengaman bangunan | jaring pengaman gedung

8:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home