Life & death in New Orleans
It’s about Life and Death
New Orleans is like life.
It’s about dark and light, good and evil, death and life, tragedy and celebration, it’s about life.
You have the harsh realities – Hurricane Katrina, a violent history, slavery, yellow fever plagues, the city’s dark past.
Then you have the pleasures – the birthplace of Jazz and Blues, the rich mixture of foods from various cultures, the love of cocktails, the joyous Mardi Gras, the place where ‘the good times roll.’
Life comes with both. And New Orleans knows it. That’s why it does them both every well. That’s what makes this place so real. So visceral. So human. You have to take them both. You can’t run from the realities and expect just the joy. You can’t run from life.
Hurricane Katrina brought some terrible experiences with it. Seven hospitals were shut down because the basements, which house the essential utilities, were flooded. The lights went out, so did air conditioning and life support systems. The most critical patients had to be ventilated by hand, around the clock. The incredible hospital staff stayed behind while their own homes were flooding.
Temperatures rose to over 40 degrees in the hospitals, many of which were 7 or more stories tall. Sanitation was gone. Hallways were pitch dark. Patients had to be carried down stair wells on their gurneys, around corners, down fire escapes and onto volunteer boats, while still being manually ventilated, and there was no food or water. That’s just one of the stories that came out of Katrina.
After the hurricane, the real New Orleanians didn’t leave, because they know that’s what this city is about. That’s what life is about. You can’t run from the pains of life. You weather them, deal with them, grow and celebrate what you have.
I think that’s why the celebrations are all the more intense in this city. You’ve just got to look for it. There’s always someone celebrating or playing a saxophone to bring you to life. In the evenings, the city is full with the distant sound of a Trumpet or Saxophone.
Off course there is the Mardi Gras which kept on going, although smaller, 6 months after the Hurricane. Then there’s Jazz Fest, and every Saturday night, and most weekdays are a party, the good times just roll.