Monday, September 12, 2005
For Those Who Died in the City of the Dead
They lay by the side of the road; on a street called Humanity and along the I-10 Interstate. Some floated, bloated – their souls lifted, but the flesh was the last to melt away. Others rested beneath planks of one hundred and fifty year-old wood, memorialized by delicate bric-a-brack ornaments that had fallen atop their lumbered shrouds. Some were placed on airport conveyor belts and luggage carts and wheeled into makeshift morgues while they still had breath – because somebody said it was peaceful there. One man died on a chaise lounge chair, which lay precariously on a grassy area near the curb of a previously busy intersection. Somebody finally came for him, but for many days and nights the man lay beneath the stars with one shoe on and one shoe off. Each individual had a story. Lives lived and then swiftly reduced to a last breath of air filled with death. These were Hurricane Katrina and her sinister co-conspirators greatest recipients of unrelenting fury. So when New Orleans reopens her eyes and her heart re-beats with the jazz that comprises her soul, she will play many a tune for these fallen natives whose lives and deaths should never be forgotten.