Saturday, February 21, 2009

My New Orleans: Ballads to the Big Easy by Her Sons, Daughters and Lovers, edited by Rosemary James

Book 6 - 2009

My New Orleans, edited bt Rosemary James, is a collection of essays. Some written by professionals, some by rather famous natives. James owns Faulkner House Books, which is a lovely store in Pirates' Alley where I make a point to stop whenever I am in town. It is a post-Katrina piece. I don't remember buying this book, but I know it wasn't actually in New Orleans. I pulled it from the shelf because I was tired of carrying around hardcovers and this is a pretty slim paperback. And it was good enough to make me decide that Alaska can wait, and I am going back to New Orleans for my summer vacation.

It seems weird that I am so into New Orleans. I am the opposite of everything that makes it cool. From my clothes to my job to the food I eat. I am totally inhibited: I don't dance, don't sing, and don't like to be touched too much. I am cranky and impatient. Hell, I barely even drink anymore. The fact that I am remotely comfortable in this place does not make any sense at all.

That's probably it.

There was a piece by a guy whose name I didn't recognize. He was talking about how he visits regularly, but would always be a tourist. I was kinda relating to that, except the next piece, by novelist Bret Lott, said it better:

"Walking the Dog with Joe" was about how he was visiting his friend, Joe, who lives in the Quarter. They were walking the dog, Zuli, before heading out to dinner. Zuli was a standard poodle and the piece was all about the attention the dog was getting in the street. This was the ending:

"Zuli, I see, in all her imperial bearing, all her presence and regal posture and beauty and carefree nobility, might as well be New Orleans herself.

And now I hurry to catch up."

I am looking forward to going back.

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