scenes from the swamp city

A couple of blocks away from me on Jefferson Davis Parkway, there is a stepped pedestal. I am pretty sure it used to have a statue of some Confederate military figure; now it’s just an empty pedestal. I have seen people sitting atop it meditating, and think I need to try that someday.

The other day I passed by there on my bike and there was a skinny dude wearing a big grey mask that I can only describe as “the skeleton of a dead carrot”. He was dancing around up there with a friend filming him. I did what came naturally, and hollered HAIL KING CARROT! ALL HAIL THE KING OF CARROTS! as I passed by.

Today I was bicycling home from a cafe in the Quarter. The tail end of a rainstorm was still passing through. I came to the place where the bicycle trail passes under the I-10; there’s a little parking lot there with a pop-up vegan takeout joint in a repurposed shipping container. In that parking lot were a half dozen dudes with assorted drums, banging out apocalyptic rhythms that were both infectiously danceable and really sophisticated; I could hear them a good block away despite the noise of the rain and the cars overhead. Turns out the space under a highway is pretty damn good for drum practice.

I have been toying with the idea of doing a series of portraits of deities to flog at some of the galleries downtown. As I cycled home in the rain, I decided maybe I should do one of the city’s personal Storm King, as well – praying to the ghost of Nash Roberts for a little extra intervention with the weather feels like a good idea as we slide into hurricane season.

I continue to feel astonishingly spoilt to have grown up in this weird little city that no sane person would have founded in these swamps, and to be able to return to it after enough time away to realize how unique it is compared to the rest of the US. I hope it continues to not be washed away for many a decade.

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