|A Science Fiction Fanzine||Winter 2005-6|
Joseph T. Major
Mr. Blaylock the choir director at First Baptist Church must have been really convincing. Why else did the youth choir get to go to Panama City, to New York, to the Miracle Strip? But we went, and sang at a few churches along the way.
In 'seventy, though, we went south. It was summer, with all that entails in the south. We were used to it then. The bus took us through Tennessee and Alabama and Mississippi, and then across the great Lake Pontchartrain bridge.
There was a church there for us to sing, too. That wasn't the biggest thing we did. The boys were four to a room -- girls, too, I suppose. It didn't matter, we were young and full of life and joy. The Holiday Inn was crowded but we didn't care.
One afternoon we actually got to go to the French Quarter. The notorious places were off limits, of course. I've never seen pullers at strip joints elsewhere. There were enough "acceptable" places for us to ramble along and enjoy ourselves. (The one place that stuck in my historian's mind was Le Petit Soldier Shop, a place full of books and tin soldiers and all that militaria. I wanted to go back.)
It was fun, walking along and seeing
the signs of history, the street signs in French and Spanish,
the mossy walls, the old brick streets. In a world where the
past is *BANG* *BOOM* parking lot, seeing something older than
myself that was still used, still living, was reassuring. Or
standing on the bank of the river and looking across a great
flowing inland sea. Even then I couldn't enjoy the food, unfortunately.
But I wanted to go back someday.
Sometime, I figured, we'd go back.
I had actually hoped to go by on the way to (or back from) LoneStarCon,
back in 1997, but things happened. It'd still be there.
What will we have? A world without
the exotic flavor of Creole, the mystical vodun; without the
glorious excess of Mardi Gras, the glitter and wonder of the
French Quarter. The history of Jackson Square and of Jean Lafitte,
the blockade runners and the autocracy of Ben Butler. This can
never be gone, but it can be destroyed; there can be facts without
a place to keep them. Where will the memories go, when there
is no one and no place to keep them?
What will happen if the workers
and the livelihood go away? Will this exodus leave the remnant
to become a "NewOrleansLand"? A tourist attraction
where paid employees go through the motions of being the lively
place that was?
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