Monday, July 31, 2006

Memento Mori it's not.

Recently City Hall announced its plans for the official city remembrance of Katrina at the one year anniversary. (I found it via Wet Bank Guide. )

Some of it is appropriate, like a prayer breakfast and the laying of wreaths at the canal breaches. But a lot of it is a tacky-sounding, conventionesque spectacle based at, of all places, Harrah's Casino.

  • A silent jewelry auction?
  • Cooking demonstrations by Emeril?
  • A talent competition?
  • A "gala ball" at Harrah's for Diamond and Platinum ticket holders?

And maybe worst of all, a One New Orleans Parade "in the tradition of a Jazz Funeral" from (shudder) the Convention Center to the Superdome.

I get what Nagin et al are trying to do with this. They are trying to create a tourist spectacle, trying to show that NOLA is still open for business.

But I think this is exactly the wrong approach. The one-year anniversary is not a tourist spectacle, not some twisted version of Mardi Gras. It should be for us, the survivors, the people. Not the tourists.

When they are still finding dead bodies in the Lower Ninth, when people still cannot live in their own houses a year later, when Gentilly and NO East have no phone service and spotty electricity, the idea of a "diamond and platinum gala" is offensive and inappropriate.

"In the tradition of a jazz funeral?" Why not a real, honest to God Jazz Funeral? A funeral for the missing and presumed dead. A funeral for the New Orleas that was.

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