Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lap of Luxury

Everything's a luxury here. Hot showers. Lights. Garbage pickup. High-speed internet. Let me tell you, we're living large now, and I'm basking in it.

Of course, we need reminding. And maybe that's why some of my friends are happy about the bi-weekly power outages in the Marigny-Bywater (the last two have lasted longer than 12 hours). Better than any mint on the pillow, any plush towel and robe combination, these timely plunges into pre-modernity set our high life in relief.

And maybe we need reminders on a different level, as well, signposts that tell us again just how far we are from normal in this town. In a narrow band of neighborhoods bordering the river, a band that stretches from the Industrial Canal all the way to Audubon Park, it's quite possible to forget that we're still living in a disaster area. Sure, it takes a willful effort, a decision never to cross St. Claude or the Industrial Canal, never to venture past St. Charles Uptown. But many of my neighbors are willing to make this effort. It's a necessity, they say, for maintaining their sanity.

And I can't help but think that those among us who willfully ignore the destruction just out of sight are among those who are already returning to the petty, suburbanite, soul-killing grievances that infected the neighborhood association meetings and email lists before the storm. They are the same folks who complained about the free food available in Washington Park and had it shut down (reportedly 30 complaints). These are the vigilant neighbors who hear that a coffee shop has reopened with live music and complain about zoning for live entertainment. They raised their voices along with those who screamed at the Entergy reps when we lost power overnight weeks ago.

To these folks, I say, there's a tour bus leaving for the L9. Maybe we should all pony up and charter one. After all, isn't part of living in the lap of luxury our ability to play tourist in our own hometown? C'mon, I hear it goes by Fats Domino's house, too!


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