When I think of New Orleans, I have a certain set of thoughts.
First, I think of Harry Connick, Jr. Then I think of , who lives there and then Josh, who lives not far from there. I think of the green Mardi Gras beads Natasha had Josh get for me. I think of Louis Armstrong and the birth of jazz, of Live and Let Die‘s famous boat chase through that very area. I even sometimes think of Dracula 2000, which is set there. This leads to the memory of Gerard Butler stood soaking wet before killing Shane West. Happy memories.
I also think of Jo, the daughter of my mum and dad’s friends Maurice and Brid. My ‘rentals are away this weekend for Jo’s wedding party up in Keele. She got married in New Orleans about a month ago. When the wedding party went through the streets of Nawlins in carriages, wearing kilts, people stopped and cheered and applauded, just because they could.
When I think of New Orleans, I think of hot summer evenings and the blues. I think of those hours late at night spent watching Ken Burns Jazz on BBC2. I think of Blanche DuBois and Stanley.
And now, I will think of this week. I will think of the people in the stadium, the people in their attics. I will think of this town being submerged under foul water.
And you know, there’s this looting thing. What I don’t get is this: why is anyone surprised? We all know that when stuff like this happens, the first thing to go is society. And who can blame the people in the midst of it? Seriously man! That scene in The War of the Worlds, when Tom Cruise realises that he’ll get killed if he doesn’t give up his car? He does, someone else gets it and they get shot for the car. That was the one moment in the film that really rang true for me because I know stuff like that would happen.
What is my point? People will do what they can to survive. People are inherently selfish because their first instinct is to survive. Yes, there will always be heartwarming stories about people helping other people in the worst of conditions because our first instinct is to survive but we’re not entirely selfish at moments like these. But people will do what they can to survive. There comes a point where we can no longer keep up the pretence of civilisation and must do what we can just to live.
Looting? Man, don’t turn up your nose, because you know you’re not above it. If I were in the middle of a situation like this, my throat torn to shreds, light-headed from dehydration (let’s not forget how fucking humid it is down there) and my stomach killing itself with hunger? Just direct me to the nearest 7-11 and get me a handy brick.
I am not too proud to say that, were I in a situation like this, I’d be scrabbling for packets of crisps too. If it got really bad, I’d probably even choke down some cheese. And you know what, I don’t think I’d be shooting at helicopters and stuff, but I can’t say I’m surprised. People panic. It’s what they do, because, shock news, people want to survive. They want to live.
A jazz singer called Jonte something on Newsnight right now just said this: “Don’t send the troops to police us, send them to get us out.”
Wordy McWord on that, and what Eb said.
It’s very easy to be snotty when you’re bundled up in your warm bed, your nice dinner happily scoffed earlier in the day. It’s very easy to be snotty, but I’m telling you, put in a situation like this, you’d be fighting over the last twinkie too.
Interestingly and not surprisingly, the news coverage here in Britain seems to have less of the racist rhetoric/undertones going on.
Basic point of this whole thing? People want to live and they will do what they have to in order to do so.
ETA: I’ve also seen that Fats Domino is currently listed as amongst the missing. I… I know that everyone missing is important, but Fats? Man, his is a voice that goes right through you, up your spine and into your shoulders. You know what I mean, that feeling you first get with “I found my thrill…” just before his piano comes in on Blueberry Hill. It’s just all too sad, man.