I debated a lot about whether I should write something today, on the two-year anniversary of Katrina. I felt like I ought to, but my initial efforts yielded two paragraphs that sounded kind of hopeless and bitter, and I decided to give the whole thing up as a bad job.
Then this morning I read the column of Chris Rose, a New Orleans writer who has been the voice of average locals — both those who survived and those who didn’t — since Katrina. And despite the fact that I’d been fully prepared to grump my way through today, he made me laugh. That was a revelation for me, and I suddenly knew what I should write.
I want to share with you an excerpt from one of Chris’s columns during the months immediately after the storm. It’s an observation that made me laugh then and still makes me laugh today, because it’s both funny and terribly true:
“If you were circumspect before Katrina, now you are candid. If you were candid, now you are frank. If you were frank, now you are blunt. And if you were blunt, now you are an asshole.”
A lot of people today will be focused on memories and commiseration, activities that are important and certainly shouldn’t be ignored. But for many of us, finding a reason to well and truly laugh is what we need most of all. Thanks, Chris.
For anyone wishing to read a brave and honest account of life in New Orleans following Katrina, I highly recommend Chris Rose’s book, 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina. (Photo source: Amazon.com)
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