So it wasn't until late afternoon when I got into my car that NPR informed me that the frightening, tragic day is in sight-- New Orleans is about to get The Hurricane. Analysts have predicted that more than one million people will likely become homeless in a single day. That's unfathomable. I couldn't help it, I started to weep a little for New Orleans and its people.
New Orleans is like no other city in the world, its truly unique cultural and historical collage, the way it celebrates the darker parts of the human condition, and lives by a bacchanalian creed. Last time I visited I was with my mother and sister, spring 2004. It was a random Tuesday in the French Quarter, the long, drunken night ended with all three of us dancing to a live jazz/zydeco fusion band at 4:30 am. I always think of New Orleans as both quintessentially American and unAmerican-- it represents a kind of freedom that proudly flaunts how much it rejects the puritanical social taboos that exist in the rest of the country.
Let's hope that this storm isn't nearly as devastating as everyone is predicting. Let's hope that she proves that she's a city that truly can't be tamed. (Personally, I also hope it stays away from my little sister, her husband, and her in-laws who all live in Alabama.)
If you'd like some more info on how to help Katrina's victims, go here.