Saturday, August 29, 2015

Through The Past Darkly; Reflections of the Time Before K.

It's 10-K.
Sadly, I know what that means.
It's a publicity blow-up doll designed to make us think of the anniversary of Katrina and the Federal Flood as a badge of honor, and talk loudly & quickly about The Recovery.

I won't because it hasn't.
I can't, because it would be a lie.

I'm sure there are statisticians pecking wildly away at key boards, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that something or other is really true, if you just look at the numbers this way. Local Billionaire developer boy is crowing about his 30,000 new white kid New Dats. And large areas of the Lower Nine look as bad as they did the day the water was finally gone.

But anyone with eyes and curiosity probably knows that, or will, soon enough. These parties usually drag out the buried pain, along with the song and dance. But that's not what's on my mind today;
August 29th, 2015.

I'm looking back on the New Orleans I knew and loved and what it became the first eight months of 2005. That is not to dismiss the old gal now, as she rolls on and on longer than any of us, a chameleon of the highest order. The Thing That Wouldn't Die.

But at that particular time, there seemed to be a culmination. Every corner you turned set off sparks, from the artists, to the musicians, to the bartenders and service people, everything lead back to everything else. We were all so.... connected.

Everyone I met at that time knew somebody who knew somebody I knew. One degree of separation. It never, ever failed.

And some of them, the closest to you, were family. Not 'holiday card' family, but a 'bury a body' family. We saved each others lives, again and again, from broken hearts to evictions, robberies to job loss, they were there. And you were there for them.

We were reckless and mad and in love and insane and the streets shone with glitter often, no lie.
Nobody seemed to question it. It was the only way to go. It was as if we somehow were all connected to the same heart somewhere. Like we were somehow cells of one living, breathing, mad and beautiful thing.

Those days are gone now, and I grieve for them as much as the dead. Not so much because I want them back, as because I want them to be seen, as proof of What Can Happen when creative people run free.
And so I am spending the day in solitude, relishing the taste of it again, like a bit of sugar, saved in wax until next year, and perhaps the one after, until it fades completely. I don't think it ever will, but who's to say.
The stories are already being passed down. They are becoming Legend.

And finally, I wonder about those sitting in their recently purchased million dollar Bywater shacks, lining up like ducklings for brunch each week, and shopping for post cards of How It Used To Be.

And I wonder what their legacy will be.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Post Cards from Hell

On the way home, I tried to listen to Obama's speech made from the Lower 9th ward today.
I just can't.
No more sno-globes, parades, love letters to New Orleans or competitions to see who's more 'Local'.
As THE DAY approaches (with the full moon, yet), the memories are coming strong & hard; identifying Bucky James' swollen body, after he went mad in the aftermath, and hung himself in the house across the street, laying there for days; The house next door to that one, where Helen Hill was shot to death because the City Did Not Care One Fuck about the neighborhood they now lay claim to; the State Police who tried to make me drop my crutches and lay on the ground, at gun point, until the National Guardsmen saved my life; The razor wire & curfews; the mean spirited 'Recovery' jocks who lived on astronomical FEMA checks, and acted like the city was their own personal strip club; and the flies.

The endless fucking flies.
So enjoy your 'celebrations', if that's what you do.
Count me out.
WAY the fuck out.
I'll be over here with those who lived through this shit, and are satisfied to not wake up screaming.
Not this year, anyway.
Maybe next time.
Maybe not.