Requiem for New Orleans

Liz over at Library Tavern had some of the lyrics to Guthrie's "City of New Orleans" on a Thursday post and I was surprised at how right the melancholy song felt in the context of Hurricane Katrina.

Tonight on the news I listened to a municipal city planner discuss the future of New Orleans and she didn't seem to think it'd be a huge problem to return the city to being a viable living space once again. She did however qualify her words with the observation that city planners in general, and herself specifically, were by nature very optimistic. Well, I'm not optimistic. This might well be the death knell for New Orleans. It's been a long time since a city has been abandoned here in the US but the time might have arrived once again.

It's a scary thought to contemplate since so many hopes, dreams, and money are tied up in any living space--and New Orleans has overtones on a number of levels that raises it above being a mere city. It's an iconic presense in many ways. Dixieland Jazz, the Hurricane--a tumbler full of joy, Cajun food, Marti Gras, Tulane University, Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, and even Anne Rice.

While I'm not optimistic, I do hope I'm wrong.

Good night, America, how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.


Carol said…
It might be hard to rebuild her but harder for all those survivors to give up their home without trying.
I'm terribly sad at everything that is happening in New Orleans right now. I want to cry for all the people who have lost their homes and lives. When I imagine all the fun I had there this past October, it's hard to believe it might not ever be the same.
kenju said…
I do hope you are wrong, Utenzi, it may never be what it once was - but they have to try. The song that keeps running through my head is "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?"

Michele sent me.
moonbatty said…
Nothing rebuilt is ever the same. But I can't see it just being abandoned. Of course, prior to now, I wouldn't have imagined that people in America would go so long and so far without enough aid.
moonbatty said…
(oops. michele sent me.)
Teresa said…
I actually expressed this sentiment a few days ago. It was pointed out to me that it's an historic city. It was pointed out to me that I should put myself in their shoes. If my my town was destroyed, would I want to abandon it and just move on? I can't answer that with certainty unless it happened to me. I "think" I'd hate to live in a shell of what once was though.

There are a lot of things to consider, but this is an example of how insecure some places in America are. New Orleans would have been an ideal target for terrorism. It doesn't seem that it would've take much to blow up the levees and flood the city at any point and throwing the whole country into a tailspin over it.

So, I'm not sure that spending billions rebuilding an insecure city would be my choice. Perhaps spending billions relocating the city might make more sense. Not that I don't think that what is salvagable should be saved or restored -- it's history. Since NO is a tourist town anyway, it could be a government landmark.
Lora said…
It's freaky reading your words a week later with all that has happend and the terrible state that N.O. is in at the moment.
utenzi said…
It's good to see you, Lora. You've been absent quite a bit of late. But I do understand. New job and all that.

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