Friday, September 09, 2005

Down the Blue Bayou

Was watching a television special on E! to raise funds for the New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina, and heard some pretty incredible jazz and blues. Everyone complains about the lack of good jazz and blues in the city, and of course like all the other hopeless romantics, I had imagined that someday I would listen to some really cool jazz and blues in its authentic set up, complete with musicians who would regale with stories of encounters with Coltrane and Armstrong. Speaking of which, I looked up and whaddaya know, Coltrane was born in North Carolina, but Armstrong, he was from Noo Awleens alright. All these images, jumbled up in my head, jazz bars, strip clubs, vice dens, speakeasies, begnets and coffee (really bad chicory laced), Creolespeak, pecan-crusted catfish, Girls Gone Wild on Mardi Gras. How very strange, all images, not one tinged with actual experience.

Was speaking to a professor of mine yesterday, an expert on coastal zone management who was very very angry at what has happened in New Orleans to date, the botched relief effort, the mismanagement, the sheer idiocy of moving National Guards from the state to fight foreign wars. There's been an idea going around about how the city should never be rebuilt. What utter bollocks, said my professor, how are the Republican midwestern farmers going to transport their grain if they don't have the port that welcomes the barges ambling down the Mississipi. Yes if only for sheer self-preservation and not nostalgia, let it be rebuilt. Let there be voodoo parlours and mask shops, dressmakers and pimps, investment bankers and football players. I promise I'll visit.

4 Comments:

Blogger Vishnupriya said...

has someone sent you that gloating forward where they compare bombays reaction to new orleans'? its quite a disgusting display of one-upmanship after such a tragedy. i see everyone laughing in the usa's face just because they are the most powerful nation.

2:12 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

@Vish: No, thankfully I haven't received any such ridiculous forwards. But it is really sad that there are those who choose to gloat over human misery. I know I didn't see any smug Americans wagging fingers over the Tsunami. But this sort of stuff (our Bombay better than your New Orleans) is all over the Indian media (with reports of sniper shooting greating exaggerated).

11:48 AM  
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