Okay, I’ve been here since – now when was it? Tuesday! And today is, what? Saturday! And I haven’t actually seen New Orleans, not really. I did walk from the House of Bishops meeting to the Convention Center, but that was at brisk pace, iPod blaring to get to the Church Service on Time. So this is really my first opportunity to see the city, or at least the neighborhood where I’m staying.
First stop is Canal Place. Now I’m hoping that where I’m headed will solve this particular issue, but one of the eeriest things about being here is that there something missing, I’ve struggled with how to put this. Things are open, commerce is under way, but people are missing. Most especially, you don’t see children and you don’t see old people – and I’m not talking the very old, in fact, I’m talking about people Bob Dylan’s age. They are just not here. And the people who are here, well, it’s not enough to fill up the city.
The other thing is that there are buildings, grand buildings where it almost looks as though last week, last year, two years ago – there was festivity and commerce flowing through its doors. But you can walk along the streets and find empty buildings where not long ago there was life. It’s not like the rundown cities I knew in New England, like Fall River when I was in college, but buildings as though the owners locked up for the day and never came back. Those who remain are so consumed with keeping their own heads above water that these other buildings are just neglected, abandoned.
I am headed to a part of town that should not be like that. If there’s a part of the city that is back in business it is the section of where I’m headed.