Six years after the fact, you’d think that most of us in New Orleans would be tired of talking about Hurricane Katrina.
That’s not to say that everything’s as it was. That’s not to say that everyone has come home. And that’s certainly not to say that people, communities, and the city we call home haven’t been deeply, deeply scarred by a particularly forceful force of nature.
And yet, we don’t want to talk about it. I certainly don’t. None of my friends talk about it. My family doesn’t. In fact, the only time it comes up in conversation is when I’m out of town, and someone finds out that I’m from New Orleans — as happened while I was paying a visit to my birth mother, Callie, this past weekend.
Since New Orleans isn’t directly in the path of Hurricane Irene, I haven’t heard as much discussion about the storm and all that she threatens to disrupt as I normally would. But of course, Irene is likely to cause a lot of damage, and at the very least, she’ll put a serious damper on people’s weekend plans along the East Coast.
One of the biggest disruptions is undoubtedly the official dedication of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday at 11am — almost exactly the time at which Irene will be giving D.C. her most powerful stink-eye. It looks as if the storm will be downgraded to a category 2 by then, but that’s more than enough to flood roadways, knock out power, and force cancellation of all outdoor events.
All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades.
Which is ridiculous for a couple of reasons — not least of which is that he makes the Southern Decadence parade sound super-secret, when in fact, it’s widely known as one of the biggest gay events in town, and possibly in the South. Ugh, that man is such a drama queen.
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, right… [continued]
Two years ago — nearly two years ago to the day — a certain cueball-headed mayor of New Orleans announced that Jazzland/Six Flags was coming back. The theme park where so many of my friends had worked before the storm, performing to crowds of dozens (on a good day), has done nothing but gather mold since Hurricane Katrina swamped it. Which wasn’t hard to do, since the whole thing was built on a swamp anyway.
But I digress.
On August 19, 2009, Nagin stood for a photo op with Spongebob Squarepants and announced that Nickelodeon would be redeveloping Six Flags. But like a good souffle, the deal didn’t keep, and now the city is looking for a new partner to rescue the property. If you’re the sort of person with a dream in your pocket and several million dollars in a Swiss bank account, you have until October 10 to submit your proposal.
My skill set may be limited, but I’m a monster when it comes to filing.
I’ve wasted hours — days, weeks, even — sifting through my collection of photos and music files, organizing them into directories, assigning tags. As a kid, I did the same with books, arranging my sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult novels alphabetically by title. My friends loved to annoy me by moving books around and watching me hunt, squint-eyed, for the ones that were out of place.
Facebook works the same. I’ve arranged my Facebook friends into lists — by city, by state, by school, by era (there’s a big group called “Lucky Cheng’s” for all the acquaintances I made during those boozy years).
I tell myself that I do this so I can track them down. Our theater company is doing a show, and we have some last-minute comp tickets to spread around? One quick message to my New Orleans list, and I’m done. Someone from my fraternity gets married or suddenly passes away? Boom, taken care of.
Every so often, I’ll meet someone who doesn’t use Facebook, and they’ll tell me, “I hated high school. Why would I want to remember all those people?” And I reply, “But that’s just it: you don’t. Facebook helps you forget them.”