Sunday, August 28, 2005

Following the hurricane news with mingled horror and fascination, tinged with an odd nostalgia: I lived in New Orleans for three years and survived at least one flood, when heavy rain filled the bowl of the city faster than it could be pumped out. I'll never forget sitting on the porch of my house and watching people go by in boats and canoes. Hoping that somehow something will shift and the city will be spared. It's very poor, violent, rife with inequality, and a magnet for obnoxious tourists; it's also a feast for the senses, a hothouse for strange spiritualities, a relatively inexpensive place for art and artists, and one of the most beautiful places I've lived. Aside from the awfulness of the human cost of Katrina, it will be a source of immense sadness if that most Carribbean of American cities ends up wiped from the face of the earth.

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