I Believe in New Orleans

Michael - Metairie, Louisiana
Entered on August 24, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love, place
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I Belive in New Orleans.

I believe in New Orleans. Believing in New Orleans means believing in life and all of its possibilties and potentialities, good and bad.

I spent my youth in New Orleans, and after my divorce and a ten year residence in New York and New Jersey, I returned to New Orleans, a year after Katrina.

Shortly after I returned, I realized my heart found its first true love not in a human woman, but in the City of New Orleans herself, a Mississippi Queen seductive and caring, at once plain and mystical, simple and complex.

New Orleans, my childhood home, now stands at her most vulnerable, which partially explains why I returned. Yes, she needed me, but I needed and need her far more than she will ever need me.

What do I need?

I need the city where God and Lucifer meet for coffee at the Cafe Du Monde, located near both the St. Louis Cathedral and Bourbon Street.

I need the city which taught the world how to take harmonies not found in music theory texts and make those harmonies swing.

I need to see sunrises and sunsets from the levee, Audubon Park, and Lake Ponchatrain.

I need to walk in a city where magic and miracles exist at every turn, from her food to her music, but always and mostly from her people.

But, New Orleans also needs me, and recently, her needs crystallized for me.

A few days ago, a local radio host, frustrated by corruprion, asked if ¨White people,¨ his term, should move out of the city. The gentleman, whom I shall not name, has often represented a positive vision of New Orleans, but spoke out of frustration with many things, and the host´s question prompted me to write this piece.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus tells people he does not want lukewarm believers. He calls believers to love passionately. New Orleans needs people to love her passionately.

New Orleans needs love. New Orleans needs people who love her, including all her faults. If you prefer the Northshore, by all means, move there. If you found life better in whatever city to which you evacuated, go there and never look back. If you do not live here, and believe the citizens of this city wallow in corruption, decadence, and deserve whatever we get, please stay where you live and keep your money.

But if, wherever you live, you recognize this city, like New York and few others, represents a unique world identity that at once needs to preserve and progress beyond herself, both accepting and correcting faults, and deserves a defense, then believe in New Orleans.

Love her madly, deeply, passionately, completely.

Believe in New Orleans.