Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reflections on living in New Orleans

Ed note: I started writing this right after ALA, but was interrupted. This was followed by a week in Panama (vacation) and some time when I was not well. But such is life.

For most of the past week, I have been with my professional colleagues who came to New Orleans for the American Library Association Annual Conference. Five years ago, in 2006, I completed my service as a member of the ALA Executive Board, here in New Orleans. That included participating in the discussions which led to our decision to hold the conference here, less than a year after Katrina. Little did I dream that I would ever live here.

I am also currently reading Deliriously New Orleans, which is sort of a coffee table book about the city and its history and architecture. Among the quotes which have struck me is this one:
Many born-and-bred locals and adopted transplants openly admit to an irrational attachment to the place...This is the common ground that attracts returning native and visitors alike, because for all its flaws, its distinctive culture remains its most alluring and enduring contribution to America.
New Orleans, like many older North American cities, is a city of neighborhoods. The first immigrants were in the older neighborhoods, and subsequent waves of immigration established their own enclaves. While there are some differences, there are more unifying architectural features than not.

I recommend a look at the book which highlights some of the vernacular architecture which many "serious" architecture works will over look. He also includes information about the changes wrought by that seminal 21st century event -- Katrina.

The final chapter is about St. Frances Cabrini Church. In that chapter the author has a definite axe to grind. I have no way of judging the accuracy/truth in what he presents.

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