It occurs to me that what New Orleans needs now is a big old second line.
Stay with me: Any number of musicians, actors, writers, and artists have deep connections to New Orleans. Hell, how many times has the Superdome hosted the Super Bowl? And the city is home to a thriving film industry, so if you add to the number of expat natives like the Marsalis family and the Mannings and Emeril and Cokie Roberts all the actors and directors et al. who have worked in the city [The Dukes of Hazzard and The Skeleton Key, still in theaters, were shot in NOLA], you start looking at a pretty influential group of people. People who, if you'll pardon my non-influence-wielding crudeness, should get their asses on television and start raising some money. Now. Get the city and its people from this life to the next; mourn the dead and embrace the living.
The rest of the nation, and the world, is at a loss at how best to help. Give 'em a focal point. Round up some Nevilles and wheel in Dr. John and throw a party that reminds everyone of all that is lost if New Orleans is lost. Hell, Nudie in Nashville could lend the Indians some duds.
We are in time for the downtown swing of Neptune. The crowd has already moved from the lake side to the river side of St. Charles. It is quite dark now. The street lights make golden spaces inside the wet leaves of the live oaks. A south wind carries the smell of coffee from the Tchoupitoulas docks. Mounted police shoulder the crowd over the curb. To the dark neutral ground come Negroes from Louisiana Avenue and Claibourne; some Negro men carry children astride their necks to see over the crowd...
The floats rumble along under the leaves. Some fathers have brought ladders with orange crates, big enough for three children, nailed to the top. These lucky ones gaze openmouthed at the maskers who pass them at eye level and almost within reach. The maskers look like crusaders with their nosepieces and their black eye sockets. Yet these specters are strangely good-natured, leaning forward and dropping whole bunches of necklaces or sailing them over to the colored folk in the neutral ground. High school bands from North Louisiana and Texas follow the floats. Negro boys run along behind the crowd to keep up with the parade and catch the trinkets that sail too high.
The krewe captain and a duke come toward us on horseback. -- Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
"Spend the night?" Ignatius thundered. "We're not spending the nght anywhere. We must drive straight."
"Ignatius, I'm about to drop dead. I've been in this car since yesterday morning."
"Well, get across Lake Ponchartrain at least."
"Okay. We can take the causeway and stop in Mandeville."
"No!" Myrna would drive him right into the alerted arms of some psychiatrist. "We can't stop there. The water's polluted. They're having an epidemic."
"Yeah? Then I'll take the old bridge to Slidell."
"Yes. It's far safer anyway. Barges are always hurtling into that causeway. We'll plunge into the lake and drown." -- John Kennedy Toole, Confederacy of Dunces