Saturday, August 28, 2010


Click play for some mood music
Music: "The Rebirth Marching Jazz Band - When the Saints Go Marching in" Download it HERE.

Note: Five years after Hurricane Katrina, this is my requiem.

Antoine polished his bone, pointed it to the sky and blew.

It had been rough five years since the levees broke and there wasn't a single solitary day that went by that he didn't think about it. Or feel the aftermath. But they say the show -- or parade -- must go on. So Antoine blew as he marched.

The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day. Didn't matter, though. There was always a body somewhere being found in the oddest of places to remind him of that nightmare and these second lines were getting rougher.

But he marched anyway.

Antoine thought of Betsy, Gustov, Ivan and Rita. Yeah, they were rough. They tried to fuck with The Crescent City but it was that bitch Katrina that knocked it straight on its ass and then some with fifty three levee breaches and hundreds of bodies floating. Just floating with rotting faces and missing limbs -- even dogs have to eat after a category five.

He kept marching.

Keeping pace, he figured that the Big Easy must've been born under some bad voodoo. Five years removed from hell and he still can't stop thinking about the carnage in The Super Dome. The toxic FEMA trailers reeking of formaldehyde. The brutality of the police. The displaced families. The schools that were to never reopen. The residents of the lower Ninth Ward and Saint Bernard Parish were either gone or dead.

He marched some more.

He just knew that when those Saints won the Super Bowl that there'd be hell to pay. God wasn't gonna let a good thing happen to that city. And, as always, New Orleans proved itself to be every bit the unlucky soul when their wetlands, marshes and gulf waters were filled with millions of barrels of oil.

Antoine looked where the old Magnolia Projects used to stand. During the evacuation many families he knew weren't allowed back into their homes after the floodwater receded because they were closed, condemned and then razed.

And then it finally hit him. New Orleans, the city he was born and bred in, was going to change. What these townhome developers didn't realize, he thought, was that it was that very muck and mire that made the scrappy city what it was. That element gave it its soul.

Staring at the brightly-colored townhouses, Antione stopped blowing, bowed his head and wiped his eyes.

He couldn't march anymore.

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  1. Powerful story. New Orleans has and will take its lumps, but it'll always survive. Too much soul in that city. Well written!

  2. Wow, I found this very poignant. I loved the way you used the marcher. Made it very powerful. Hard to imagine the carnage, but it seems New Orleans has a lot of soul..:)

  3. The pacing meter of the marcher was amazing and perfectly done, Anthony. I loved the way you set a scene and painted pictures with so few words. Brilliant execution, sir.

  4. I have a soft spot for New Orleans. I love how the marcher parallels the parade of misfortune, but I hope the city doesn't give up. There's no where like it and it should have been treated like the historical treasure that it is. I hope it's not too late.

  5. Being of New Orelans, this just broke my heart. Beautifully written. Thank you.

  6. Terrific and powerful story. Well done.

  7. Great post Anthony. Keep blowin' your horn

  8. Wonderful ode to a city full of meloncoly and magic and yes, soul.

    Well done, and I wish I was there right now.

  9. Very moving, strong stuff. Best story I've read today. Well done sir.

    BTW, "them some" ... "then some" ??

  10. Ah, just heartbreaking, Ant. Gorgeous and passionate.

    I've had a few excellent times in New Orleans. The soul and the blues and the history all seep up out of that muck and mire. May it rise again.

    Great piece.

  11. What will he do after he stops marching, though? Sit and cry? Then God will keep dumping oil on him. Find a new city? Built the practical good things that don't wash away as easy?

    Fifth to last paragraph: "they'd be hell to pay" - probably "there'd be"

  12. I felt the sadness of a man who has lost his home and can't accept the changes going on around him.

    And, of course when those who rebuild aren't the same as the ones who built, there will be massive changes.

    What he needs to understand is you can't rebuild a soul exactly as it was. His home will never be the same.

    This one touched me because I so GET him. I hate change, but it's part of life.

    Great job Anthony!!!

  13. A man I love dearly lost everything in that mess. Five years later he still struggles to rebuild his broken mind and spirit.. this was more than a flood/ was a devastation of the masses...
    Beautiful post and I will share this with him.

    Thnk you for this :-)

  14. You moved me by this. The marcher was a wonderful vehicle for giving this message. You used the details well to remind the reader of the horror. The hungry dogs line got me.

  15. I feel Antoine's weariness after all that marching. It does seem like some places get far more than their share of misery, Haiti comes to mind, Bangladesch. New Orleans though is a good bet to pick itself up and march on I think.
    Great job cutting down to the bone Anthony. There is a great video by Vince Vance on Youtube. I Am New Orleans.

  16. I read this outside, on a hot Sunday afternoon, and listening to Louis Armstrong and seeing pictures of gumbo and parades, your words ringing in my ears, I felt nostalgic for a place I've never been.
    Nice work, Ant.

  17. New Orleans is made up of history, memories, food, music and resiliency. We came back after Betsy, we'll come back after Kat.

    Never will the people forget that history, those memories... hell, the original city leaders wouldn't let the Americans use their street names or house colors...they sure won't let someone come in and wipe out the old for new.

    Nice bit of work...

  18. That was powerful, Ant. The marching and marching some more until he came to his eventual realization. I nice tribute to the Big Easy on the anniversary of Katrina. A lot of soul, indeed.

  19. Hey Anthony,
    I have an award for you. =D

  20. Soul indeed. That was a great story as usual and the visuals through your writing and the choice of audio gave it that authentic "true story" feel. Nice one, mate.

  21. Heartbreaking look at the continuing breakdown of a once unique city.

  22. Very nice jazz funeral, Anthony. It had a lot of sound and flavor. I ate it right up and hoped for more each line.


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