New Orleans knows humanity is hanging on by a thread. Waiting for The Last Wave. Nobody’s interested in obliterating natural landscapes to make way for ugly box stores full of useless things here — not when the city is already lousy with ugly empty box stores which used to be full of useless things.
All over town, dilapidated but gorgeous ancient buildings sit and stew in the heat, overtaken by vines like scruffy beards waiting for a hot towel and a razor.
Like the Situationists said: In order to create, one must first destroy. In this case, nature took care of the first part and she probably will do so again. At the end of the earth, you look futility in the face and call it awesome. You don’t nuke and pave over it and pretend it doesn’t exist. You let it grow like a beard. You are ready for it.
You can be a human animal in a place that’s falling down and sinking. You don’t belong to the modern world anymore. You listen to old jazz, and old-world gypsy type recordings, and anything else from when instruments were made of wood and not computers.
You brush your hair sometimes. You smell like a cave-person and sweat and slap bugs and occupy yourself with reintroduction to things that matter — and not things. You realize you are made of meat.
At the end of the earth, roads go to rubble, plants bust through the sidewalks, living things overtake factories and graves burp up from the ground. Nature bats last, and there’s no point in denying it.
Unlike the manicured, tamed, asphalted and strip-malled suburbs to which we were exiled in the winter months, in New Orleans — in the vacant lots where houses used to be, in the marsh, and in the mighty River — Nature is right there to provide when the power goes out. Can’t fish on a golf course; can’t garden in a parking lot.
BIENVENUE EN LOUISIANE … WELCOME CENTER CLOSED FOR RECONSTRUCTION.
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