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I Am Not Alright, But I Am Upright September 22, 2012

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Four people came to Toulouse Street looking for “new orleans upright tattoo” and all four clicked through to hear Raymond “Moose” Jackson’s “O’Neil’s Lament”. Some words have power beyond their simple human utterance, and Jackson’s words struck me so strongly as an epigraph for a place and time, an epigram for what others had already forgotten, that I will wear them on my right arm until the end. Bury me in a sleeveless shirt, right arm toward the room.

As I finish re-watching Season Two and prepare to read a year’s worth of Wet Bank Guide in preparation for Sunday’s premiere and the conversations to come on Back of Town I recall last season’s Treme teaser poem by Gian Smith, “Oh Beautiful Storm.” I think the refrain from “O’Neill’s Lament” on Jackson’s Illusion Fields disk gets as close to the wound inside the characters of Treme, a hidden stigmata that haunts them like a waft of church door incense on a lapsed Catholic, as an outsider can possibly get.

New Orleans or New Haven, first-time viewer or Treme Sunday devotee, give “O’Neill’s Lament” a listen before Sunday’s show.

We are not alright, but we are upright.

Comments»

1. sarajacobelli - September 23, 2012

What struck me was the reaction I got a few times from several new, young residents who moved here post K. All they know is the “new New Orleans”, land of sky high rents and memories. Katrina doesn’t mean much to them, at all. They just look blank when it is mentioned. Wow. Is that how previous generations felt, for example, those who survived World War II? (or is it just sour grapes on my part, because I’m one of many being priced out of the city by skyrocketing rents? Why, oh why, doesn’t New Orleans have rent control, for both residents and small businesses?)

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Mark Folse - September 23, 2012

Park Esplanade where my mother lives is full of them, moving into their sterile rooms with a view they could not afford in New York or San Francisco. Young professionals who would choose what was once a building reserved for the aged over a beautiful old house are the same cadre that will applaud the row of 50-foot condos that will soon separate the Marigny from the River. Pres Kabakoff will make his father proud, remaking the Marigny into his own version of the Warehouse District and the neighborhoods behind into the very sort of high-rent, low-occupancy tourist ghost town that worried me in December, 2005 .

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candice - September 24, 2012

When Clay and I go house-hunting people are always surprised that we are natives. “Oh, you’re from here, so you know.”

French Quarter’s been a ghost town for quite some time now…

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Mark Folse - September 25, 2012

I know you don’t Facebook but if you go to Wet Bank Guide and search for Hurricane Hugo, I’ve been worrying about this since December 2005. (Actually you could probably just go to the archive. Pretty sure its December. “Spirit this is a fearful place” is the post.

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2. samjasper - September 23, 2012

“a hidden stigmata that haunts them like a waft of church door incense on a lapsed Catholic, as an outsider can possibly get.”

Wow. Well put. Perfect

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