Why New Orleans Matters, by Tom Piazza

Book 41

Another post-Katrina memoir of a New Orleans transplant making the case for for why the people saying Let it Sink Into the Gulf are wrong and totally suck.

He talks about his first visit and falling in love with the town.  About the couple of years where he saved up his pennies to be at Jazz Fest for all ten days.  And finally making it his home.  That is good stuff.

The brief section on the actual hurricane was pretty awesome.   He wrote it the way I would have read it anyway – flashes of illustrations interjected abruptly with feelings interspersed with, “Who the hell wants to hear any of this again?”

Here is my favorite part:

“If you do not live in New Orleans you can try this simple experiment:  Put a chalk mark on your wall at a point three feet from the floor, then imagine everything below that line coated with toxic scum, swollen with foul moisture. If this is difficult to imagine, take this book, place it in a sink filled with water and leave it there for a week and a half.  Then place the soaked book on the floor and try to imagine the entire floor filled with several layers of such books.  If this is still hard to envision this, take all of your books, place them in your bathtub and immerse them in a mix of water, urine, spoiled food, feces, weed killer from the garage, and perhaps your beloved cat, preferably drowned and bloated.”

And note that Piazza was one of the lucky ones.


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