Tuesday, March 8, 2011
New Orleans, I Remember
In R.E.M.'s song Houston, a citizen post-Katrina leaves everything once loved and familiar for Houston, thoughts racing. "If the storm doesn't kill me, the government will, I've got to get that out of my head...So a man's to put to task in challenges, I was taught to hold my head high. And so there are claims forgiven. And so there are things that are gone."
In "Oh My Heart" (from their new album Collapse Into Now), it is not an exodus out, but a homecoming to the beloved New Orleans, now "a city half erased."
"This place needs me here to start. This place is the beat of my heart.
The storm didn't kill me,
the government changed.
Hear the answer, the call, hear the song rearranged.
Hear the trees, the ghosts and the buildings sing.
With the wisdom to reconcile this thing."
I love the hopefulness of the latter song. Nature, so powerful a force, cannot be conquered, governments powers will shift, but will and spirit reawaken in the human soul. In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button film set in New Orleans, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, it was declared, "You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went, you can curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."
Today, on this Mardi Gras, looking back at the few short days I got to know New Orleans (post-Katrina). She feels like an old friend you haven't seen in years, but you immediately feel like you've picked up where you left off like it was just moments ago.
The sun shining on Jackson Square.
Bananas foster at Arnaud's Restaurant.
In 1951, a chef at Brennan's Restaurant created Bananas Foster, named for Richard Foster, who served with owner Owen Brennan the New Orleans Crime Commission. Recreate it at home.
Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
Musicians filling the street with the sound of jazz.
Not wanting to leave the South without having had fried green tomatoes. Mission accomplished at Louisiana Bistro, where the chef made me a vegetarian plate like none I've ever had.
Remembering no matter how lush your surroundings in life and in your sendoff, we all have the same destiny.
Admiring architecture so unique to the city.
A rainbow smiling over the river. A smile on my heart, remembering New Orleans.