from the window

27 Jul

there is only rain… I’m on the 41st floor of the Sheraton of New Orleans, was going to take a walking tour (very cool project by UT Austin Performance Practice students—a downloadable tour of NOLA narrated by artists from this city, speaking of their own memories and lives in certain neighborhoods). But there is just the heavy rain. In a way that evokes the flood for me… I imagine the rain just falling, and falling, and not stopping, and the trees and phone wires falling. Last night was a cabaret by local artists (including Kathy Randels who performed an awesome MC as Mama Nola) and Playback theatre and others. They are still here, still here, still here.

The message loud and clear from the folks here is, please come.

I am a little overwhelmed by being in this city — I haven’t been to the 9th ward but I’ll go if I can. I am shocked anew by being in a supposedly first world country where the aftermath is almost unrelieved. This is Bush’s america but it goes deeper than that.

The spirit behind it is different but I hear an uncanny ring of Bush’s instruction to go shopping after 9/11, in the calls for commerce to save NOLA–to fill the bars and restaurants—and it breaks my heart that this is where a neo-liberal world vision gets us. A major national disaster and the ruins of people’s lives and houses, the scandalous lack of rescue, support and rebuilding, is to be addressed by tourists buying exactly those iconic services that represent the city before it was destroyed. As if we are buying icons of the dead and somehow, in pretending that they are still what they were, “helping”. As if forgetting were the best way to re-member. i almost can’t take it in. It just makes me want to weep. (not “helpful”, but there it is–I just feel that way today).


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