Back in the late ’90s my friends and I used to joke that New Orleans was "the
city that God forgot about," mainly because of the crazy stuff we would
see in the French Quarter, and every bar would serve us booze as desperate underage
college freshmen. Well I don’t believe God is capable of the apathy America has
shown the city since Hurricane Katrina. <br><br>
The Big Easy is getting ready to celebrate its annual Jazz and Heritage Festival
(www.nojazzfest.com) over the weekends of April 27-29 and May 4-6. From experience
I can tell you that the festival is hands down one of the best musical events
you can ever attend. While national powerhouses always flock to the dusty fairgrounds
(this year includes Van Morrison, Steely Dan, John Mayer, and Norah Jones), the
real treat comes in local acts that carry the city’s rich musical tradition.
Some of my favorites include Kermit Ruffins and 20-year Crescent City stalwarts
the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I hope those that make it down there open their eyes
and ears to more than the local music. The city still needs a lot of help. But
I have no right to preach. Instead, I’ve asked Dirty Dozen sax man Roger Lewis
to share what daily life is like in New Orleans. <br><br>
&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a nightmare. People remember what they saw on the news, but
I live here. I&rsquo;m back in the city and I see it everyday. If the media doesn&rsquo;t
keep talking about it, it just gets washed under the rug. But it hasn&rsquo;t
gone away. <br><br>
It&rsquo;s sad that the richest country in the world can&rsquo;t take care of
its own backyard. The government should&rsquo;ve come together right away and
taken care of this. There shouldn&rsquo;t be all of this lollygagging. What&rsquo;s
taking so long? We&rsquo;ve got the money and the resources. Why are we playing
politics?<br><br>
There are still people dying from this hurricane from all of the stuff they inhaled
in the stagnant water and the mold in the houses. The news doesn&rsquo;t tell
you about all of that. Nobody decides to be poor. We are all human beings, but
it seems the people on the top shelf don&rsquo;t seem to care. That&rsquo;s scary,
because this can happen anywhere. <br><br>
People should come down here and support the city. But don&rsquo;t just go to
the Jazz Festival, Bourbon Street, and the rich areas around the Garden District.
Don&rsquo;t just drink beer and eat gumbo. Go into the neighborhoods and the
communities. Look at all of the abandoned houses and people stuck in makeshift
trailer parks. It will bring tears to your eyes. I don&rsquo;t care if you&rsquo;re
rich, poor, or middle class; nobody deserves this. There&rsquo;s a whole history
that&rsquo;s been lost.&rdquo; &mdash;J. F.