Friday, April 28, 2006

We've worn out our welcome

This is an American city:
"It's hard not to look away. It's hard to know what to compare this to. It's seldom that a music that once thrilled you now repulses you.
We move on to the Industrial Canal and beyond. There's the grainy, long-ago newsreels of WWII Stalingrad, bombed-out, shelled-out buildings, block after block, fallen or even more, half-fallen where they stood, ruined but not yet destroyed, shattered but not yet abandoned. Along St. Claude Avenue, some of the shells are again occupied by a half-hidden army, moving in the inside shadows of generator light, sniping at the enemy. They'll have to be rooted out of the rubble, house by house. ..."

These were American citizens. Two thousand of them died.

And you're bored with it, and us.

New Orleans has been a major city for almost three hundred years. It's the birthplace of American culture, period. Despite the crime, despite the poverty, despite everything, New orleans bred a fierce bond with its people. They loved New Orleans like a lover, a physical being so deeply tied to their souls that they could never give her up, even if she was bad for them.

The citizens of New Orleans had families, jobs (they really did), dreams, tragedies, hard times. They were alive, more alive than any of the zombies you see walking the streets of Atlanta or the ghosts hiding in the corners of Detroit. Despite the crime, despite the poverty. They were living in the truest sense of the word.

And then the hurricane came and took it all away. Took away the homes, the lives, the dignity, the dreams, everything. You'd really have to see it to understand: it's not just water damage. It's not a ruined house here and there. It's bad. People died, people fled, the proudest and most vibrant and most alive city in America was hammered, knocked to its knees and left for dead.

But you're bored.

People are coming back. The city is slowly being rebuilt by people who can't live anywhere else or do anything else, who won't abandon their lover when she's hurt and sick, maybe dying. No one knows if it will work, if New Orleans will live again. Or if Cameron parish or Vermilion parish, blown to smithereens by Hurricane Rita, will live again. But we haven't given up.

You've given up on us.

You've given up on us because we're poor, black, southern. We're clowns, partying all day, drinking all night, and running a banana republic government on graft and free drink tickets. Deep in your hard little hearts, you think we deserve this. Had it coming, carrying on like that. Its as if we had been daring God to put a stop to the nonsense, and he finally did.

Besides, black people, poor people -- do we really want to build new nests for them? Shouldn't we accept their dispersal as a gift, a way of diluting the concentrated oil slick of beastly black faces and exasperatingly poor white ones? Mostly Democrats, too, if I recall. Maybe if they're far apart they won't breed. If they're scattered, they can't organize, either, so its win-win, right?

See, it's all worked out, so will you whiners just drop it?

We're not going to go away. We are going to keep staggering along, demanding attention, pulling on your sleeve like some scabby beggar who knows you from another life. We're going to come to all your functions and introduce ourselves, the legless one-eyed veteran, the black sheep of the family who mortifies the guests, even as they can't stop gazing into that sightless, empty socket, at the red, raw stumps where legs used to be.

We are not going away. And if we go down, we're going to take you down with us.

11 Comments:

Anonymous ashley said...

Oh hell yeah.

I like how, this time, you get your point across with much less profanity than I do. I think you must have an editor.

Of course, in my perusal of the news logs and such, nobody in the rest of the US gives a rats ass about what she said on this, only about her racist opines on immigration.

To quote Sam Kinison: I hope she slides under a gas truck and tastes her own blood.

It's probably green.

4/28/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

Oddly enough, the angrier I get, the less profanity I use. When I'm really really really pissed off, I'm practically Elizabethan.

4/28/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Lady Morwen said...

S.D.

Freakin' wonderful piece! YES!

And you are right: If we go down, we are going to bring them down with us.

'Tis only fair.

4/28/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

That was a very eloquent post. Thank you for capturing what all New Orleanians have been feeling, at home or abroad.

4/28/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

So very well put! Thank you for your post.

And you're right, we're gonna take them down with us if they continue to think they can ignore us. Truth be told, the problems New Orleans has to face dead on are issues in most other urban centers in this country. It's just that our brutal honestly even before this situation is what makes New Orleans so beautiful. If the Katrina aftermath was under the rug in New Orleans pre-K, then other cities have their corruption, poverty & failing education systems hidden UNDERGROUND!

They have no place looking down their noses at us, because they are in the very same boat! This opportunity to heal NoLA's wounds can provide solutions that could help the entire country.

4/28/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Suspect Device said...

I love y'all too.

4/28/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger TravelingMermaid said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes...."Deep in your hard little hearts you think we deserve this."
That statement strikes a chord so true it cannot be denied.

4/28/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger DWL NP said...

OK, you got it off your chests. Everything stated in this well written post is old news though.

You are feeding into this woman's propaganda. Her opinion represents such a minority that she is ignored and insignificant. However, anything said about her (or this country) in a derogatory context by us will not educate but begin to alienate the majority of people who are with us and for that, we can only hold ourselves as accountable.

Honestly, had she been employed by FOX rather than CNN, I can only imagine how much more wasted time, effort and space this woman would have received.

4/29/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous humidhaney said...

I disagree with the comment above. Other people in this country do wish we would just go away. "We" being of course all the "bad things" and "black things" and "freely expressive things" they wish would not tarnish this great "pure" country of ours.

I like to "use" quotes. Leave "room" for the reader's imagination on what "you" mean.

Great post "Suspect."

4/30/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Great post! Although I dont live in New Orleans, I do love her, and whats happened there breaks my heart. I see this kind of attidute every day up here in PA, people dont want to hear about NOLA anymore. They dont "get it"...they've moved on. It makes me physically ill.
They dont think the city should be rebuilt, Im tired of it too, tired of their piss poor attitudes about their fellow Americans.

5/02/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Dambala said...

She's a cunt.

But she may be right about Amorica being tired of it.

Although Qatar isn't!

5/03/2006 12:06:00 AM  

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