This Other New Orleans

 from Roy Guste, FQ stalwart and Marigny resident

Personally? I would have let the 10th year anniversary of Katrina slip by silently without having cause to remember those terrible days. But the numerous events in the city claiming Katrina as impetus has made me reflect on memories I would rather have left untouched. Books, movies, art openings, parades? Katrina was a terrible tragedy. You would not be grateful for what you lost or for your friends and relatives and all the 2000 other people who died. Were you here? And this city and it’s natives are NOT healed. The broken parts have been replaced but not repaired, the displaced replaced. New Orleans its culture and its people have suffered such unimaginable loss that will never be returned. I was born in, raised in and lived a life in a New Orleans that I loved with all my heart. I can only hope that when I die I will by then have learned to love this other New Orleans.

Hey Hey (want to send us away)

Proud to showcase my pal Peter Boutté’s (and Ruben Watts) song about the days and weeks after August 29, 2005 and about days and weeks of other hurricanes too. Peter is a multi-talented artist from one of the proud Creole families of New Orleans who have kept the city fed, built, repaired and with a song (or haiku) in its heart for more generations that most Americans can imagine. Here is his daily haiku from August 29, 2015:

“About Katrina”

When the day is done
They’ll pack their bags and then they’ll run
And you won’t hear shit

And you might wonder why I am still posting about the levee breaks. It’s important to remember that our disaster began on August 29 and has continued for a decade, no matter what they media wants to portray. New Orleanians like Peter have kept  the drumbeat of activism going which is vital in order to not lose everything we hold dear.

Complicated Life

Well I woke this morning with a pain in my neck
A pain in my heart and a pain in my chest
I went to the doctor and the good doctor said
“I gotta slow down your life or you’re gonna be dead”

Cut out the struggle and strife
It only complicates your life

Well I cut down women, I cut out booze
I stopped ironing my shirts, cleaning my shoes
I stopped going to work, I stopped reading the news
I sit and twiddle my thumbs ‘cos I got nothing to do

Minimal exercise, to help uncomplicate my life
Gotta stand and face it life is so complicated
You gotta get away from the complicated life, son
Life is overrated, life is complicated, must alleviate this complicated life

Cut out the struggle and strife
It’s such a complicated life

Like old mother Hubbard, I’ve got nothin’ in the cupboard
Got no dinner and I got no supper
Holes in my shoes, I got holes in my socks
I can’t go to work ‘cos I can’t get a job

The bills are rising sky high, it’s such a complicated life
Gotta stand and face it, life is so complicated
Gotta get away from the complicated life, son
Life is overrated, life is complicated, must alleviate this complicated life

Life is overrated, life is complicated, Life must get away this complicated life
Life is overrated, life is complicated, must alleviate this complicated life
Gotta get away from the complicated life, son
Gotta get away from the complicated life

Study: Corps decisions doomed canal walls in Katrina

What is evident from the project record is that the Army Corps of Engineers recommended raising the canal floodwalls for the 17th Street Canal, but recommended gated structures at the mouths of the Orleans and London Avenue canals because the latter plan was less expensive.”

A corps spokesman didn’t comment specifically on the report, but said the agency gained valuable knowledge from such studies that it has used in rebuilding the levee system after Katrina.

“The Army Corps is first and foremost a learning organization,” said spokesman Ricky Boyett. “Our focus over the last ten years has been to learn from all the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.”

He noted that New Orleans’ revamped levee system protects much of the area from a so-called 100-year storm, or one with a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year, and it’s also designed to resist erosion during stronger storms. “As a result of this effort and the efforts of all of our partners, the greater New Orleans area now has the best level of risk reduction in its history,” Boyett said.

Levee study

2 protests from the levee break life, 2006 and 2010

First, an installation done by my neighbor Jonathan in 2006 in the bayou next to our flooded apartments. I just happened to see him setting this up at dawn on the morning of August 29.

A quote from local activist Tracie Washington made into a poster by activist/printer John Fitzgerald in 2010 or 11:


And an interesting post from 2012 about another negative association of resiliency, with a great quote about how it can reveal the deform in certain systems:
Resilience, from the Latin resilīre, to spring back, is the ability to return to an original form after deformative stress. When it comes to institutions, those moments of deformative stress can be revealing. The institution loses its decorative bunting and what we see is its essential nature.

“Dedicated to President Bystander”

Two of the grief-filled but somehow repairing moments that we experienced at JazzFest 2006: Springsteen’s Acura set and John’s chilling jazz tent performance.

bless you Bruce.

John Boutte singing Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927 at JazzFest 2006:

John is the voice of the shared soul of New Orleans.

And fuck you bush, blanco, brownie and nagin.

August 28 event at Canal Place-FREE

Admission is free; activities start at noon.

Programming includes screenings of several documentaries, highlighted by Alexander Glustrom’s “Big Charity: The Death of America’s Oldest Hospital” and Harry Shearer’s “The Big Uneasy.” There will also be live music from Armand St. Martin, Steve Allen and Hannah Schulingkamp, several short films, and a slideshow of images courtesy of the New Orleans Kids’ Camera Project. food editor Judy Walker will be on hand to discuss and sign “Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found From The Times-Picayune of New Orleans,” newly released in a hardback edition to mark Katrina’s 10th anniversary. (Walker speaks at 4 p.m. and signs until 6.)

Events in Greater New Orleans.