Aren’t you glad now, Gordon?
Aren’t you glad I dragged your drunken ass out of bed that first night of bachelor party weekend and made you get out on the Quarter with me?
You poor bastard, you were bumped into bunking with me. And we started boozing at the airport and had hit the Quarter by 3 p.m., eating and drinking and were all in bed by 8. I woke up a few hours later, pissed that we were wasting precious moonlight.
“C’mon, get up!” me said. “We’re in New Orleans! We’re in New Orleans!”
You’d lived in New Orleans before, so you knew it, knew how it smelled and what a carnival it’d probably be to a kid like me. So we rolled on down and got drinks t’go and spent a little time in a titty bar.
Then on to Cafe Du Monde, then wandering back to pass out exhausted in our room.
Now that it’s drowning, aren’t you glad I bought you a few more hours awake and alive in New Orleans?
I sure am.
I got to go back, you know, this year, on business. Took a whole afternoon and walked around the Quarter and tried to remember where we’d been, you and me and the crew. And that week, I spent a lot of time at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which is funny because that’s exactly where all those people are trying to stay safe, and some failing at it.
These are sad and weird times; you can’t count on a place as beautiful as New Orleans staying alive. You can’t count on something as tall as the World Trade Center standing. I am utterly sad because New Orleans will never be the same again, not just for the buildings but for the culture and the food and the magic. Within the next decade, developers will recreate it as a Vegas East, mark my word. That magic is gone, it got done flooded out. It has been regentrified overnight, and I cannot help but wonder if that was part of the plan.