Friday, December 30, 2005

New Orleans Ten Years Later

It fun to speculate and try to imagine the future, of course no one can predict tomorrow with a great deal of accuracy and that’s what makes life worth living. Katrina’s effect was undoubtedly disastrous in its immediate effects. What about the long-term effect of that killer storm? I have been following this story with great interest for two reasons, first I am of Cajun descent from Baton Rouge, and second I love New Orleans. The City’s old world and third world charm makes it a place like none other in the United States. The trend now is somewhat different, apparently the displaced citizens of New Orleans are starting their lives over in other places like Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia to name a few. The second coming of Spanish influence is gradually supplanting the French derived African influence of recent times.

One of the five flags that have flown over New Orleans was that of Spain. Now Hispanic workers are flooding into the city to help with the clearing, cleaning and rebuilding of the devastated areas. These new citizens, as citizens and residents they will be, will place their own cultural stamp on the city. The Hispanic culture is rich and diverse as people all over the United States are beginning to realize. Today it’s day laborers tomorrow the moneyed class will arrive.

Bourbon Street will survive as Carnival is a big part of Latin culture, in fact with Hispanic influence the city will continue its wide-open relaxed approach to life. One difference will be that the patois will lose its French and Afro American undertone and begin to sound more like Cuba, Dominica, and other Latino lands. This will be a good thing for the city, as it needs to return to life. The immigrant workers will put down roots and their fellows will follow.

This story is being reported as a potentially bad thing, nothing could be further from the truth. New Orleans will absorb its new residents, in a sense they are its returning residents, so that the voodoo fortunetellers will rub shoulders with the descendants of the Incas and Aztecs. The cuisine will be enhanced as plantains, yucca, and jickama are added, but the old gumbos, et tu fe, and grillades will remain. If you have never been to New Orleans go, if you have been there, come back.

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