Monday, June 23, 2008

Recent Reading: The Lessons of Katrina

The new issue of Southern Cultures offers several reconsiderations on the meaning of Katrina on New Orleans and its environs.

The journal, published by Center for the Study of American South at UNC at Chapel Hill, makes for insightful reading, especially if you compare it to the mean-spirited and misremembered characterizations of Katrina and its aftermath on conservative talk radio.

One article considers the place of Marti Gras in the American imagination, a topic that warrants deeper consideration. New Orleans, after all, has long had the reputation as Sin City, a decadent playground for all those straight-laced Southerners wanting to cut loose for a few besotted days.

Author Maura Fitzgerald created a more creative report called "What Was Found," which includes this poignant line: "There are mornings in New Orleans when you wake up too sad to move."

And this: "There are some nights in New Orleans when you feel all in a fever and all you can do is walk."

There's much more worth reading in the journal's Katrina issue, enough to make a reader think long and hard about New Orleans life, growth and development, the weather, and hubris in the face of it all.

For more on Southern Cultures, check out the journal's website here.

No comments: