new orleans ’12 [bourbon st at 6.01am]

I was the only one walking. this was an hour to be jogging or stumbling. the light was quietly reaching through, but not up and over. ‘I’m a trained swordsman’ said James, the fortune teller. he tells them that before telling them he reads cards. if there are still the drinkers, it’s the early in the morning ones who let a few hours slip right by. the machismo, the drama, the loud voices that usually come with one of those neon green drinks have since passed out. this is the hour for the locals, one of the few times they’ll visit this street. trash cans full of last night next to torn off wristbands and flyers. further down the street, there are ghosts – some made last night, others some time before that, but there are ghosts. the kind you read about and the kind that we’re just now able to start talking about. they call Katrina ‘the storm’ here and never has a word been spoken more reverently. everyone here was here for it, as the city didn’t seem to attract too many after it all went down. ‘when I saw New Orleans – my home – underwater,’ said Irvin, my cab driver,  ‘when I saw the news and everything, I had to think what if New Orleans never comes back?’ I stay quiet, waiting for a strong Cajun finish to that statement – something jovial like ‘but you can’t keep New Orleans down!’ or something like that, but it never came. he just trailed off, looking out the window.

and what if New Orleans had never come back?

’cause it almost didn’t.