Friday, March 14, 2014

New Orleans ~Moria Donegan, n+1
~When I pulled off of I-10 the day that I first arrived in town, a soldier in desert-colored fatigues stood beneath a blackened traffic light, directing cars with his stiff palms. On the road behind him felled oak branches lay downturned on the asphalt like hands. I had to steer around them. This was August 30, 2012, and my timing could have been better. Hurricane Isaac had made landfall two days earlier, the first major storm to hit New Orleans since Katrina. Power was out in much of the city, and further downriver, in swampy Plaquemines Parish, two bodies had been found floating face down in a flooded kitchen. Isaac was the first real test of the new, $4 billion levee system that the government had built after 2005, and a lot of people had expected the levees to fail. Almost all of the friends I knew in New Orleans had evacuated to Austin, Memphis, or Baton Rouge; they sent me pictures of the traffic backed up on the outbound side of the highway. “I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” one friend had told me a few days earlier, over the phone. “But I don’t want to be here when we find out.” Before the storm reached land the Army Corps of Engineers had been called in, “to provide assistance and keep order.” But the levees held, and while a lot of people lost power, the damage wasn’t nearly as bad as what had been feared. By the time I reached town there were soldiers standing in clusters at the major intersections along Claiborne Avenue, looking bored. The French Quarter even had its lights back on, and businesses were open in the tourist district. On Rampart Street as I made my way to my apartment, I saw an Army Humvee stop to let a gaggle of drag queens cross the street. I watched them disappear into a bar.

A Kale of Two Cities: the magical New Orleans and the Americanist version ~C.W. Cannon, The Lens

Sunday: Single Men's second line parade ~Big Red Cotton, Gambit

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