It’s that time of year again. I sincerely hope that when this issue of OffBeat hits the street—scheduled for August 28—it will end up in your hands on the day it’s supposed to. As I write this, the week before the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, there are two potential tropical storms that could develop into hurricanes. Needless to say, our local weather news media is salivating at the prospect of scaring the hell out of us and devoting most of their time to tracking the two “potentials.”
It’s annoying, because I feel that they’ve exploited our region’s fear of storms to make “news” that doesn’t really exist. But then again, it’s certainly better to be prepared than not. I just wish there wasn’t such an emphasis on the fear factor.
Our September 2005 issue was scheduled to be delivered on August 29; we even had a launch party scheduled. Well, that didn’t happen!
It’s been nine years, and frankly, it seems like only last week when we all endured the horrors of Katrina. So many lost so much, but I think what we gained was the realization that we are a strong, resilient and capable community that’s come back from almost being wiped off the face of the planet to a city that’s stronger and more vibrant than before the storm.
I love the fact that our music is strong and growing. Our culture-bearers are still working to keep it strong. I’m gratified that young musicians are moving to the city for the same reasons that they’ve always wanted to be here: New Orleans is the best place to be if you want to learn from, as well as play with, the masters.
I’m thrilled that so many entrepreneurs and young people have moved here (this wasn’t happening pre-Katrina) and are strengthening New Orleans’ intellectual infrastructure and support for the culture. They’ve brought a much-needed energy to the city.
I’m happy that we seem to have recovered to a level that exceeds where we were before the storm, and that New Orleans is becoming known as one of the fastest-growing cities in America.
Of course, we will have problems with corruption, education, racial tension and sometimes, let’s face it, some ignorance that still persists.
What I hope for our city is that the strides we’ve made will continue and make us stronger, even if we have to face another destructive storm together.
What we all need to be cognizant of is that we’re all in this together. One thing that I believe holds New Orleans back from achieving more is that there’s not enough communication and cooperation between power structures and organizations. That’s what we need more than anything: if we work together, we’ll triumph. Happy Hurricane Season!