I see out of state BMWs going the wrong way down my street, radio blaring, cell phone to ear, oblivious. I encounter bicyclists, going the wrong way, also, down the middle of the street, who shout at me that I am 'not down', for refusing to get out of the way of their skinny jean commercial asses.
And have I mentioned the Wall of Riverfront Condos?
But it's a parable (like that whole other famous book that only morons & lunatics would take at face value), so we have to see it as a ratio comparison on every quantum level. Perhaps, another longer parable. That's like revealing truth without having to say or commit to anything.
Culture, real culture, comes from the poor, the salt of the earth, the day to day people who live and die and make more of themselves and try to find happiness where there isn't much, unless you dig, way down inside and fight it back up, and most importantly, share it.
Give it away.
Create a tribe of like minded and similar souls, struggling to get by, generation after generation, carrying their traditions closer than money, because they really matter.
Those people STEAL culture.
And they sell it.
They come to your village and flatter and barter for your wares until they have enough to imitate you, and then they take it.
And they make yours illegal.
They arrest you for freely demonstrating that culture as they sell it on TV, in the shops you wouldn't be caught dead in, and during any sporting event there is ever gonna be. They form committees to give awards to themselves for the Best Imitators Of Real Culture Anywhere.
But don't worry.
You're not invited because, seriously, you couldn't afford it, darlin.
But the Buddha says that fear is just an emotion that has no bearing on the Truth.
And the Truth is that you are ALL New Orleans, my friends.
You and your whacky cultures.
All of you.
There IS no corporate blood in the veins of this town.
It is a Pirate City, an Outlaw City, a Trick of the River, an Accidental City, a magical land of disrepair and angels with broken wings. The streets are paved with the blood of the unwanted who built a kingdom in hell, and loved madly, drunkenly, along the way, celebrating with food & drink & music & art & sex & death.
I understand now.
In some strange and twisted way, maybe New Orleans IS Elvis.
And by taking part in this insanity, so are you.
Don't let them put you in those awful, awful movies.
Twist your hips, swivel your pelvis, howl at the sky.
"Say it loud, I'm back & I'm plowed."
Because You Are New Orleans.
Unless you let them.