As I write this, Hurricane Ivan is just barely missing New Orleans. This is the first hurricane in history that is only one letter from my own name, and it would be right awful if it destroyed the most magically awesome town in America. Our friend Fran in Chapel Hill hated the fact that Hurricane Fran destroyed so many of our buddies’ houses in 1996.
(Actually, if we have a 19-hurricane year in 2007, then Hurricane Van will be only one stroke away from my name, and that would really suck. With my deep addiction to irony it would take out Brooklyn with me in it.)
Anyway, they say a direct Category 5 hurricane would leave New Orleans 20 feet underwater, and not nice water either – millions of gallons of fetid propane and giant balls of fire ants. Anyone who has any affection for New Orleans, or any understanding of the impossibility of evacuation, knows it would be worse than 9/11.
The Crescent City let me taste liquor for the first time (a bottle of Evan Williams with the Budster in 1987), site of some of the best times we’ve ever had, and is one of the few places in the world where I never feel steeped in anxiety. Tessa and I, for our part, would like to send our thoughts down to Mobile Bay, where our brother-in-law’s family is riding it out, and thank the Buddha for leaving New Orleans out of this one.
Royal Street, Sept. ’01