Bad things happen to good people in New Orleans. Good people stay here in spite of the bad. Spectacular moments of instant epiphany, of grand collective emotion, of synchronization among sundry bodies and minds: we remain here for such moments. Faced with a deteriorating physical landscape, we double down and swear allegiance to this exceptional existence. Visitors arrive in droves to feast at our vibrant banquet, where we welcome them with promises of the greatest time ever.
Yet any toddler will tell you: a lot of things are fucked up here. Driving a car, interacting with the Sewage & Water Board or finding an apartment—basic functions of adult life can turn costly and Kafkaesque. Even worse, most of us experience violence first- or secondhand. There’s a bargain involved: we sacrifice normalcy, safety and efficiency for sweet payback in the form of celebrations, neighbors and escape. Still, you are the rarest of New Orleanians if you haven’t clutched your head in your hands and asked “Why?” Read More →