Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mystery: Where Is Bill?

I am in New Orleans, as a matter of fact.

Our residence has no internet connection. I have been compelled to rely on the kindness of strangers to post this update. A year after the great storm and flood, conditions in town are still rather primitive. But the communications company has assured me that they are hard at work on the problem, and my link to the outer world should be up and running by next week.

We shall see.

You may have seen some of the national news coverage regarding New Orleans. The city has lost more than a third of its inhabitants; former residents that were farmed out around the country after the disaster still await the federal dollars that will make it possible for them to return home.

If they want to. They may not want to. The city is still very dark. This is particularly true in the vast empty neighborhoods north of the Vieux Carre. We took notice of it driving into town from the airport at night. Looking down from the highway we could see nothing but block after block of darkened homes, punctuated by the rare occupied property decorated with Christmas lights.

Many shops have closed due to a shortage of employees and customers, but the oldest businesses continue to hang on grimly. Within the Quarter, the best restaurants and clubs carry on, and, as has been true for the last four hundred years--there is music. Sometimes it's ghostly music, but it's still there...


At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to hear more. Have you always had a home there or is your visit there something that has pretty much occurred since the flood? Didn't realize you had a New Orleans connection.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

Oh, you'd "like to hear more," would you? More about my private life, posted on the Internet for all to see? You want me to post my social security number, my credit cards? How about some photos of me in the nude, too, would you like that?

I will be writing more on New Orleans in the future. Pictures, too. I cannot help it--I live here part of the year now. We moved down after the flood. I came down to help a friend clean up his house after the disaster, and I realized how much I loved the place. Then my wife came down and started volunteering, and she ended up loving it, too.

Quite a change from Stillwater, Minnesota. Catastrophic destruction, but still proud and mysterious. Look at the following quote about New Orleans and see if you can guess the date it was written:
"The paradise of the South is here, deserted and half in ruins. I never beheld anything so beautiful and so sad..."
--Lafcadio Hearn
"Life and Letters"
written in 1877


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