Notes from Atlantis

Random Thoughts from the Crescent City

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Notes from Atlantis 30

Dear Folks,


I know, I know, I ought to be blogging about more important things than a football game (or even three football games) but WE ACTUALLY WON last night!!! Again! In the Superdome! Against a really good team! We actually muthaf&@*%&!ing did it!


It was a No-Fly Zone. It was the Dirty Birds getting struck down by Bird Flu. It was all over but the feathers. It was every stupid sports-cum-falcons metaphor you can think of...and it was glorious. Think Amazin’ Mets. Think Red Sox winning the World Series. Think anything involving the Chicago Cubs. Then multiply that by the emotions of V-E Day, and you get an idea of what New Orleans was like last night.

Yes, I know, the war ain’t over, and there are still many more battles for New Orleans to face. Hell, the actual war we’ve been fighting for the last three years (the one in Iraq...does anybody even remember Afghanistan?) is going so badly our entire intelligence community has now gotten together and issued a boil-down and the message is we are royally F...D.

And yes, I know, Mayor Nay-gone just had a meeting last Saturday in which SOME neighborhood groups got together and revealed some of their plans (or more rightly dreams: rebuilt neighborhood centers, green spaces, new housing, pedestrian malls) and everybody nodded and went, well, that’s nice, and now they’re telling us that by December they may have another meeting scheduled to look at those plans some more.


And the fire fighters down here just got turned down for a pay raise to put their hourly wage up to $7.50 an hour and think about that the next time some pimple-faced mouth-breather hands you your Big Mac, because he’s earning $10 an hour plus bonuses.

And everybody agrees Donald Rumsfeld’s an incompetent blow-hard and Dick Cheney’s a scary psychopath (remember “the insurgents are in their death-throes”?) and the levees are still dicey and Chris Wallace has nothing better to do than to ask President Clinton why he preferred getting his knob gobbled to going after Osama bin Laden. And the Repubicans have decided it’s alright to torture people A LITTLE BIT, and it’s still got two months to go on the current hurricane season, and gas prices are being lowered A LITTLE BIT too, so the great community of pimple-faced mouth-breathers (which is what our leaders clearly think we all are) will vote for those leaders next fall...and one of those leaders is our own almost-indicted Bill Jefferson, which makes me think maybe we really ARE a community of mouth-breathers and we deserve whatever we get.


It wasn’t everything, but it was one more small step on the road back. We’re back, we’re ready to whoop some ass, the Saints marched in last night, and they’re not going anywhere.

It’s kind of sad I guess when a community is so desperate for good news it’ll rely on a football game like it’s a State of the Union Address, but hey, these are tough times, cousin.

I’ve just been re-reading an article in The Weekly Standard (not, I hasten to add, my favorite fascist fare) but this one’s been on my desk for the last six months and the reason is because it had a picture of the Superdome on the cover with a few forlorn floats rolling by (but no people) taken last Mardi Gras, and the headline read, “Will The Good Times Ever Roll Again?” There was even a little sign visible on the dome reading (sic) “Re-Open 9-24-2006, Go Saints.”

It was given to me by Bill’s aunt Kitty (NOT a fascist, although a die-hard Redskins fan), and featured an intelligent, nuanced piece by Matt Labash (I’m not going to say “of all people”) about New Orleans.

So I read it last March and I just read it again, and what’s scary is the things that have remained THE SAME for six months after remaining the same for the seven months before that. The city’s still got areas that are in ruins; areas that are now gutted ruins waiting to be rebuilt (but not rebuilding yet); areas that ARE rebuilding, but still have a long way to go; and areas that have gone from being blighted before the storm to being nightmarishly blighted now, but where people are still living because they didn’t actually flood, and where the major activities now are drug deals, shootings, and shootings that involve drug deals.

This last area I should add is about ten blocks from our house.

So yeah, it’s a little sad and scary to read the article, except it isn’t, because what’s gone is the uncertainty. Don’t get me wrong. There’s still enough uncertainty in New Orleans now to drive everyone to Prozac (will we be safe? will we be solvent? will we ever have a real mayor?) but what we don’t have anymore is the uncertainty of whether New Orleans will still be New Orleans. Take me word for it, it will. It already is. It’s still a stubborn, crazy, beautiful place where grown-up people know enough to play like children, and it still has its heart and its subtle, complex, beautiful soul intact, even if it ends up languishing. It still has its anger, and its wildness, and its unbeatable sense of humor, and it’s still a place where people CAN be brought to tears of joy by a simple football game.

Did I say simple? By a goddamn great football game.

And did I mention WE WON!!!


Love and XXX from the world’s newest football fan.



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