I realize that I'm late in weighing in on the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina; I guess I didn't want to be a part of the glut that normally happens right after an event of this nature. I was watching The Waterboy today, and I couldn't help but think about my lack of posting on the topic. I am especially saddened by the catastrophe because New Orleans is one of the places I've been wanting to visit ever since high school, when my math teacher would tell us stories about what it was like to grow up there.
I never really had a desire to participate in the debauchery of Mardi Gras, but I would love to hear some zydeco and, most of all, try my tongue at a little Cajun French. I think Louisiana would be a goldmine for this blog--an entire state full of French names (both place names and family names), just waiting for a good old-fashioned American butchering. Just the capital city itself is a good start:
(you get the idea.)
La Nouvelle République, the Loire Valley's main daily, had pictures of the destruction on its front pages for weeks. I phoned one of my friends in France and we talked at length about the horrible events. She happened to have been here in Pittsburgh a year ago when half of our town flooded due to weather caused by Hurricane Ivan, and I remember her saying that she'd never experienced such destructive weather before.
The Loire Valley itself floods every year as part of the vagaries of the river's flow; in December and January the engorged river takes over groves of trees, childrens' play areas, and castle grounds. But this temporary, annual inondation is nothing compared to the destructive nature of hurricane weather. I suppose that's one advantage to being bordered by a sheltered body of water such as the Mediterranean Sea.
I hope that the nation is able to help New Orleans rebuild; it is such a rich part of our country's heritage and a reminder of our historical connection with France. I hope that strains of music and laughter are heard again soon in the streets of the French Quarter.
Laissez les bons temps rouler toujours!
Photos: Preservation Hall, French Quarter, New Orleans (post-flooding).
Flooded grounds of Azay-le-Rideau, a château which sits on an island in the Indre River (a tributary of the Loire).