New Orleans, LA – December 15, 2012
From the moment I arrived in New Orleans I loved the city. Buildings crouched behind levees, gas lanterns glowing in the night, sidewalks cracked by sinking earth. Brass horns echoing in the air, long lots with thin faces, balconies and tight streets. Tall windows and wooden slatted shutters, laughter and voices singing loud, food with flavor and bite.
The city feels deep, old, wounded and healed and wounded again, pieced together and used, lived in, broken and patched, scared up. But I’ve always loved scars more than tattoos. Scars are real. Scars remind you that life is a thin line, that we’re all born with just one guarantee and even a city can’t shake it.
Yes, I love this city.
I love that it peers out at those hurricanes in the Gulf, peers out and wonders if the next will be too big, wonders then stares back at the land, back at the spillways and levees along an uncontrollable river, stares back and waits for the water to rise, waits with its eyes watching the Atchafalaya, watching the guillotine in mid-fall, watching and living anyway.
The city is not scared. It stares at that gleaming blade hanging over its throat and refuses to surrender. It stares and sings and sings and sings. It parades and plays the trumpet. It swallows life in mighty chunks, not waiting to chew, determined to clean its plate before death get a bite. Eat, eat and save nothing for tomorrow. The moment is sure and the future uncertain.
Stare at New Orleans and you know we are all mortal.
That is why I love it.
Death is coming, yes, death is coming, but New Orleans knows how to live.