I'm a NOLA ex-pat. Ran screaming from the place, though I still feel fondly towards that hot, swampy, vile-smelling town that just oozes history and attitude: NOLA is like an ex-significant other with whom I remained on good terms with after the break-up. Maybe we're not a couple anymore and I think it's deeply flawed, but I'd never wish pain on that city. NYC could learn a thing or two about eating its young from New Orleans, but sometimes that steaming bowl of drunken tourists and odor could be unexpectedly beautiful. The fog would roll down the Mississippi at nightfall, a breeze would pick up, the muggers could be seen lurking in the dark, there was music everywhere, and it was possible to forget that earlier that day I had slogged five miles home, waist-deep in filthy water the entire time because a tropical storm had stalled over Texas and I was living several feet below sea level.

It boggles the mind that the Journey Steps and streetcars, the Clover Grill and Port of Call and Dragon's Den, Audubon Park and its spanish moss-covered live oaks and those bizarre damn bar/laundromats are all under water and that the emergency management people are talking about forced evacuations of the remainders, looters taking hostages, and years of recovery if they don't just abandon the Crescent City altogether...and the water is still rising because the pumping stations failed and the levees are breached. Interstate 10 is flooded and the Pontchartrain Causeway is destroyed and the West Bank is in equally bad shape, so the only way out is by air or by water. Wasn't there a bad 80s sci-fi movie about this, albeit set in a different city?

Until a couple of days ago, New Orleans was a grand lady fallen on hard times. Maybe she had to sell the family heirlooms and her house was falling down around her, but she could still pull out all the stops when she hosted a banquet. Now the poor old dame would be better off if she were living out of a shopping cart.

Here's hoping the NOLA people are safe: [livejournal.com profile] micahra and her critters, Robin and his mini-tribe, Bobby and her battered truck and oil-spewing bikes, and all the rest. Someday we'll meet again over beignets, pralines, and chicory coffee, even if we have to sit in a boat to do it.
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