What can I say?
Well... first, I am grateful to be here in New Orleans. There are those – at least one learned man I know – who predicted that we wouldn't make it this far. He was wrong; ah yes... he was wrong.
What's next? Dear Reader, let's dance
[Danny spins & speaks! From, Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy (1954.) I myself have been to Beale Street; Memphis was the first stop - exactly 5 years ago. I'd still rather be in New Orleans and; Pops probably meant so too.]
That, I hope, fully expresses what matters most during this time. As a reminder of autumn is brought to us by the far-reaching gentlest winds and rain of Hurricane Danielle, perhaps a dance “holding one another” is the most healing action one and all can do in commemoration of our collective loss, and in honor of five years of New Orleans Rebirth. I uphold: Resilience... as worthy of praise. Patience... within a self-determination (in the toughest of circumstances.) And to honor Faith. Belief. Intention. how could we not? So let us dance! The primal experience of life... The Real Thing that makes my ding-a-ling ring... After all the opinions and view points have mixed with the facts, there is waiting, ever-present, the Cry of Jazz... Truth.
And the "truth" is, I still get angry. I don't particularly desire to. It seems to creep up on me. Before I know it, I've lashed out; recently at a friend whom, upon his evening arrival on a passing thru visit just last week asked, (within our first minutes together... ) “Wow... did this area flood?” Meanwhile, I was ready for a party. We did; and the following day, we went on a tour.
It was intended as a Katrina Tour; a Levee Tour. But it was also, a Creole Tour... A Danny Barker Tour... A Snow Ball, and Fried Catfish, and Pothole Tour. It was a pedal-powered journey into my soul's current informants. A quest to validate the unreasonable. A crusade to find the source of harm that plays with our lives. and our minds... and leads us to temptation. It's as if I/we – the “Professional New Orleanian” – is the Dragon Slayer of the mythological past, or the archetypical present.
[If so needed, may I remind that: "the evidence is clear that the great flood was a man-made disaster" - Times-Picayune 12/08/05.]
The beauty of New Orleans is so enchanting and magical that it can lead to a truly magical thinking: How could any harm ever come to this place? So I pray. I pray for all the New Orleanians who have pushed and pushed forward, struggled and fought to this day – and have prevailed. I decidedly praise the elders, people like Peter 'Chuck' Badie, octogenarian bass man on many a classic hit, pinnacle of them: A Change Is Gonna Come. A man who constructed his Musician's Village home in the pounding heat of Summer '07. I honor Mr. & Mrs. Alvin Christophe, Sere Street neighbors of the Barkers.
So true: many have not prevailed. What you elsewhere residents see on the TV is accurate, tho obviously not the truth. [for the record: I have not viewed Spike Lee's latest nor have I seen any episodes of 'Treme.'] I see, hear... and sense the facts everyday. The many homes, and buildings, and schools, and churches still left disheveled, and/or abandoned. I sense the numbness and oblivion of the poverty stricken – a level of society that apparently is widening. I am voluminously aware of all of this drama being staged within the one truth.
Nonetheless, within the one truth there is the only true joy. Perhaps because of the loss, the truest New Orleanians claim life only ferociously. In spite of the poisoning and death brought to us – by us – via the Earth Day Disaster, the joy and passion remain untouchable. There is really no telling what truly the effects of our dependance on petrochemical production will be. [Can we even get this part of the story laid out for the books?] Nevertheless, the ball is rolling; and the wheel is turning with strain in the direction of affordable-for-all alternative energy production. I am no expert, but I do hope that The Administration's Deep-Water Drilling Moratorium will succeed in an economic re-shifting. (I suppose that I would claim ultimate victory when solar panels top my southern exposure!)
I'll be honest with you, Dear Reader, the joy that I have found in New Orleans living overwhelms even me! sometimes. Here, we have one of the largest and fitful metaphors to describe our being: the Neutral Ground. The ample, lengthy spaces between two opposing directions of traffic that course thru the city. I've recently become enamored by walking these pathways, shunning each sidewalk in search of truth. Come to find: the neutral ground is truth.
Walking on the neutral ground guides one to love everybody. It requires it.
May protection, goodness and justice prevail in New Orleans.
May peace prevail on Earth.
Peace & Pops,
Maison Musique, New Orleans
My Catalogue of CD's Available Thru A Locally Owned & Operated Retailer Worthy of Your Support:
MOMENTS OF SOUND: ESQUIZITO 1996-2006 is now available in Digital Download thru:
- which like iTunes, you would search for: esquizito.
Everything is happening now.