Todays blogger highlight comes from Louisiana’s very own Oyster at Your Right Hand Thief. Oyster is one of many NOLA bloggers and brings this uplifting insight into what makes us who we are. Blog on my friend and never give up.
I was sitting next to two old lawyers yesterday (one a former State Senator), and overheard this exchange regarding the recent tornadoes in New Orleans.
Former State Senator: This place is snakebit, and will always be snakebit.
Old lawyer: But my problem is, I don’t want to live anywhere else.
New Orleans’ contradictions are profound and irreducible…. and beautiful! It took me years to understand and appreciate that. (In fact, some of these contradictions were described nicely in the recent American Experience program which I recommend watching.)
Tonight, in freezing temperatures, New Orleanians will gather on the St. Charles neutral ground to take part in one of the best parades on Earth. Incredibly, some of the celebrants lining the avenues have been flooded and tornadoed in the past year and a half, yet they still understand the importance of Carnival– even if it only appears like friviolous “camp” to some soulless outsiders. It was important to have parades last year, and it will be important to have them again this year.
The drums beat, the people dance, and we revel in the annual Dionysian flow. We know that life will persevere through the absurdity and the calamity– and that’s a truth that is worth celebrating together, as one community. It’s not about the cheap plastic Chinese beads… it’s about the fact that a community decided it was important to come together, on the streets, en masse, to grasp and reach for cheap beads!
As a 19th-century Continental thinker might say: “The Olympian laughter of the deeply wounded is not naive laughter.”
Or, as the 20th century dance music group The Real McCoy memorably sang:
I’m serious as cancer
when I say rhythm is a dancer!
You don’t hear the “cancer/dancer” rhyme very often in discotheques nowadays, do you? But that’s nothing. Check this link to view the surprisingly un-p.c. lyric that precedes the one I quoted. You’ve heard the song a million times but I doubt you ever sang those words.