Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The roots of New Orleans
New Orleans has been in the news often in the past three years, and most of the headlines have not been good. Despite gradual reconstruction, much of it undertaken by private groups in the face of governments stymied on all levels, portions of the city remain in ruins and its population scattered. New Orleans has become a symbol of relentless nature overwhelming under-funded public programs, a catastrophe of poor planning, a failure of the national imagination. As Ned Sublette implies in his latest book, New Orleans could never have been conceived by the American imagination in the first place. The Crescent City was a Caribbean port swallowed whole and only gradually digested by Manifest Destiny.