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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Thursday, September 01, 2005  
The City That Care Forgot

Today is Blog for Relief Day.

Irish Elk is participating by asking readers to consider making a contribution to the American Red Cross or to any of a number of other groups involved in hurricane relief.

Instapundit has put together a list of relief agencies to whom donations may be directed.

Terry Teachout, a New Yorker who has grown close to New Orleans while working on a biography of Louis Armstrong, is maintaining a comprehensive roundup of links to blogging coverage of Katrina.

* * *

Clip: "Oh, Didn't He Ramble," by Kid Ory

Louis Armstrong on the jazz funeral:

And, speaking of real beautiful music, if you ever witnessed a funeral in New Orleans and they have one of those brass bands playing this funeral, you really have a bunch of musicians playing from the heart, because as they go to the cemetery they play in a funeral march, they play "Flee As a Bird," "Nearer My God Today," and they express themselves in those instruments singing those notes the same as a singer would, you know. And, they take this body to the cemetery and they put this body in the ground. While he's doin' that the snare drummer takes the handkerchief from under the drum, from under the snare, and they say "Ashes to Ashes" and put him away and everything, and the drummer rolls up the drum real loud. And, outside the cemetery they form and they start swinging "Didn't He Ramble." And, all the members, the Oddfellows, whatever lodge it is, they are on this side. And on this (other) side is a bunch of raggedy guys, you know, old hustlers and cats and Good-time Charlies and everything. Well, they right with the parade too. And, when they get to wailin' this "Didn't He Ramble," and finish, seems as though they have more fun than anybody, because they applaud for Joe Oliver, and Manny Perez, with the brass band, to play it over again, so they got to give this second line, they call it, an encore. So, that makes them have a lot of fun too, and it's really something to see.

Photographer Leo Touchet captures the New Orleans jazz funeral in a book and accompanying photo exhibition, "Rejoice When You Die."

Elsewhere: A brass band marshal at rest.

* * *

Random Penseur laments Katrina's cultural cost:

There are some wonderful museums in New Orleans: the D-Day Museum; the Civil War Museum (in a great Richardson building just off Lee Circle); the New Orleans Museum of Art; the City of New Orleans Museum; the State of Louisiana Museum in 8 historic buildings around Jackson Square; and the Mardi Gras Museum. The flood waters will not deal kindly with these places. The waters will erase our memories just as the diaries and letters home of the young Civil War soldiers will surely perish. The paintings. I can't even begin to think about the paintings. All of the ephemera will be just that, ephemeral and evanescent.

I include in this the great libraries at Tulane University and Loyola University, two of the many colleges in New Orleans. I assume that they are gone, along with their collections of rare books and prints.

And what about the parish churches and courthouses, with their centuries of records of births, deaths, wills, land transfers, famous disputes, and all the records that make up our collective heritage? Again, I assume they are gone.

You can rebuild a city.

You cannot remake a heritage.

* * *

A great American city is devastated; the birthplace of jazz, a vibrant multi-ethnic cultural mecca, lies under water, with thousands possibly dead, and a million displaced.

The response from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: Crickets.

* * *

Posted at The Corner, an e-mail from a New Orleanian:

"Imagine losing the following:
* Your home
* Your job
* Your possessions
* Your children's access to schooling
* Your economy
* Your culture
* Your city

"I bring all of this doom and gloom up to make one key point: I am, in some key ways, better off now than I was before Katrina came to town.

"You see, for years now I have tried to convince my children of one truth: The most important things in life are not things.

"I had, of course, intended to emphasize this point from the comfort of a chaise lounge under the beneficent breeze of a ceiling fan. To my irritation and dismay, I must now say this without the proverbial pot.

"We shall just have to wait and see whether my philosophy is able to withstand the rigors of a reality without. Although I shall miss air conditioning, I have reason to believe that I will pass this test.

"Just this morning my ten-year-old daughter came to me, and with her voice trembling, asked me "Papa, are we going to be all right?"

"My reply was "Yes, we are going to be just fine. I can lose everything I have with just a few exceptions, and they are your mother, you and your sisters."

"I write these words from the home of a friend in Houston, Texas, with very little to my name. I have, nevertheless, wealth untold.

* * *

Elsewhere: Katrina silences legendary jazz city * New Orleans' joie de vivre will lift city up from Katrina * Love pours out for a city submerged * New Orleans' tragic paradox

The Times-Picayune's James Varney writes:

William Faulkner…was first published in The Times-Picayune while he was living in the city and writing his first novel. He called the city, "a courtesan whose hold is strong upon the mature, and to whose charm the young must respond."

Now, in the 21st century, the courtesan cries for help. The response from young and old will decide if she lives or dies.
(Via Hugh Hewitt)

* * *

"Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?" Clips: Louis Armstrong * Billie Holiday


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