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New Orleans is one of the most beautiful and unusual little cities in the world.  I think it's the most European of American cities.  Not only because of the architecture, most of which only pretends to be ancient, or the fact that the city is so heavily influenced by French and Spanish culture.  Yes, the spirit of the city has a joie de vivre, a love of music and good food and drink and general cordiality and happiness, that may remind one of an American version of Paris with Louis Armstrong is its patron saint.

But it's not just because of that.  It's the most European because it's a survivor.

For centuries, New Orleans has been fighting off water.  I've often felt when walking its streets that the place is both tenuous and enduring.  On one hand, it feels like it's perched on the brink, at the mercy of the Fates - but at the same time, its culture is supremely grounded, with a concentration of the earthiest music and food that I know of.  I think this feeling keeps visitors a little bit off-balance, which is why it's such a popular tourist and convention destination.  

New Orleans will never die.  The city has been there for a very long time, and always will be, in all its peculiar strangeness and beauty.  And it's not just the buildings - it's the culture, and the people who make up the culture.  Black and white, wealthy and poor.  They will endure.

And in all the other places devastated by the hurricane, maybe not so famous or well-loved as New Orleans, those people will endure too.  They will survive and they will come back to build their lives again.

It's time to stop wallowing in the gory details of this disaster and start supporting the people who need help.  Here on dKos, I've seen HUGE energy poured into political argument and pissing contests regarding this disaster.  That energy could, and should, be diverted to more useful purposes.  Here's a suggestion: if you feel like complaining about Bush, or if you want to bitch about something else that's political, STOP TYPING and send money to a charity that will help with the hurricane effort.  

And after that, listen to some music from New Orleans.  Dale's excellent New Orleans Second Line diary gives some suggestions.

Originally posted to hrh on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 09:40 PM PDT.

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