I found a permanent carnival, complete with sideshows, hucksters, hookers and people who want to sell you something they shouldn’t, or buy something from you they shouldn’t. I suppose I am no different than most people. As I age I do lots more shaking my head in disgust, as I develop a growing intolerance of some things. On the other hand, I have become more tolerant of some things. We kind of balance the scales that way. I was not shocked by any of it; I could write on and on about all the negatives, but I won’t.
New Orleans is certainly a city under repair, everywhere. Nearly six years after Katrina there remains ample evidence of the destruction, in both the commercial and residential areas. I followed the news during and after the storm, and, to be honest, I was one of those individuals who thought the whole city should be abandoned, leveled, never rebuilt. Why subject the residents, the taxpayers, those of us who pay homeowner’s insurance (our rates reflect the overall liability) to the likelihood that another calamity would cause billions more in destruction? I was wrong in that knee-jerk reaction, and that is clearly apparent after my visit. (Not like that was even a remote possibility.) Once I scratched beneath the obvious I was impressed and amazed. The crowd was mostly young people; maybe the average age was 25 years old. Most, at least those I talked to, were local people. There were a few foreigners. I detected what I thought was German, French, possibly Russian and some New Yorkers. (One of those snapped at me, as I stood near one corner, “Look at you! What are you going to do, photograph the breasts?” She scurried in disgust when I asked her to flop her hooters out!) People were there to eat, drink and enjoy time with friends. They were stimulating the economy, themselves and others. They were listening to talented street performers and bands on the stages at numerous bars. I don’t believe I heard a bad note waft from the whole singing lot.