Thursday, September 01, 2005

Missing New Orleans

by Tom Guarisco

If we're lucky enough to have power today, we find ourselves staring at the television in nauseous disbelief, or checking and re-checking Internet news sites to see if things could actually get worse.

Again and again, they do. It's a sadness and despair we can't yet comprehend. So many lifetimes ago, New Orleans' own Louis Armstrong expressed it.

Do you know what it means
To miss New Orleans
And miss it each night and day
I know I'm wrong & this feeling's getting stronger
The longer I stay away

But how many times did we take New Orleans for granted? We hopped in our cars for the hour-long drive and parked at that city's great little restaurants, its enchanted music clubs and bars, sopping up all the city had to offer.

We spent our discretionary dollars like tourists on po-boys, cold beer and cover charges. In the morning, we bought beignets, coffee and aspirin.

In winter we showed up for the biggest party in the world, catching beads and the Mardi Gras spirit, only to return to our homes elsewhere, the trash and detritus of our good times blowing around in our rear-view mirrors.

Miss them moss covered vines & the tall sugar pines
Where mockin' birds used to sing
And I'd like to see that lazy Mississipp
i Hurryin' into spring.

We trudged to the Fairgrounds at Jazz Fest, catching snatches of more music than any music lover dared to even imagine. More than two centuries of commerce, art and immigration helped create the unique, simmering pot of culture, people and the joie de vivre that was New Orleans.

Aren't all of us just a little guilty of taking New Orleans for granted? Haven't we all taken advantage of its abundance, complained about its crime, belly-ached about the Saints, yet raved about the food, the music and the people?

Make no mistake, the city will rebuild as much of itself as it can. Its strong and resilient people will make do, as they always have, and the nation will reach out with federal and private support, much the way Louisiana reached out to New York after Sept. 11 and donated a shiny new fire engine, symbolic of renewal.

But some of New Orleans is dissolving this very moment in the salt water of Lake Pontchartrain. Some of its people are dead, their survivors' memories are now leavened with grief, and still others will simply move away.

Maybe now we'll all feel what Louis Armstrong felt so long ago.

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart
And there's one thing more & I miss the one I care for
Moe than I miss New Orleans


At 4:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. If that doesn't inspire me to donate to the relief fund, I don't know what will...

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Court said...

Yeah, it really sums up what I feel...

At 2:17 PM, Blogger sleepybomb said...

what a great post. we were already to move into our house in metry next month. my family and freinds are now scattered all over the country and quite a few are still missing. we will come back better than before.
thanks for the wonderful sentiment ...

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Court said...

Thanks for your comment, good luck to you and to all of us. =)


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