Sunday, September 18, 2005

New Orleanians of the Diaspora

Richmond, Virginia.
Nashville, Tennessee.
Texarkana, Texas.
Cleveland, Ohio.
Lafayette, Louisiana.

This is a list of only myself and close friends.

We New Orleanians of the Diaspora have found ourselves everywhere. And my mind races as I wonder: What are all of these people doing?

At the "Katrina + 11" mark, my group successfully escaped flooded New Orleans. As communiciations slowly improved since then, I've learned the whereabouts of many of us, those who evacuated before the storm and those, like me, who stayed for a time. The few I've been totally unable to reach are those who stayed in New Orleans for the entire duration, who remain there right now. I suppose these folks will throw the first "Welcome Home" parties for the others.

I've travelled from New Orleans to Daytona Beach. And from there to Richmond and back. I'll return to New Orleans for my stuff, then back to Florida? or to Richmond? I've decided to move to Richmond; logistics will not be simple.

And all of this is costly.

Within the larger volume of sadness associated with this disaster, there's one chunk of it that weighs very heavily on me right now: We'll never be together again. Never again will my group of friends, as we were, find ourselves at my studio for Sunday brunch. Never again will my studio host a band on the stage with a few hundred friends all over my house. Never again will we fall into Cafe Degas or meet by the flagpole at Jazz Fest.

Don't get me wrong; I know some of us will return for the Fest. But...

As the initial reaction to this comes and goes in waves, added to it is the secondary reaction, the realization that nothing in my life will ever again be as it was. My studio will soon be changing. My hometown will change. My artwork will change. My friendships, my habits, my diet, my radio stations, my sausage from Terranova's is no more to me, my coffeeshop, my neighbors, my walks on the bayou with Ida and T-Bone, my visits to the sculpture garden in City Park, my Pabst Blue Ribbon at Pal's on the corner.

Those of the Diaspora, we're all over, sure.

But we've all remained throughout in only one small, lovely space on earth: New Orleans.


Blogger bradley said...

Joseph, I have to say, this is almost incomprehensible to me. The magnitude of loss combined with its suddenness, is overwhelming. I have no genius advice to give, man; just be careful with yourself. Give yourself time to deal. Lean on who you have to. We're here.

11:17 AM  

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