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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Somewhere Deep in the Quarter...


Somewhere deep in the Quarter
the secret of a city lives.
A spot of Spirit,
A treasure buried, emanating
an inexplicable cadence,
One spot from which all weird life stems.

Shot through with music,
shot through with brilliant blue,
An utterance from ancient languages,
A crystal stream flowing out 
in six directions.

Ever-flowing, ever-abundant
ever-nurturing,
Destroying as it builds and rebuilds.

Residing in the primordial ooze
bubbling from the street,
Bubbling up through the language,
the notes, the laughter, the pain,
The tears, an ecstatic brew.
Tearing apart the rhymes, resonance, logic,
A gift of a Spirit universal.

'Somewhere Deep in the Quarter' - New Orleans Poetry
Richard Bienvenu
January 2010

Yesterday, after watching Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations' episode about New Orleans, filmed two years after hurricane Katrina (August 2005), I was so moved, as nothing much had changed in that time.  I then related that disaster to our very own recent misfortune here in Australia; extensive flooding to 75% of Queensland, flowing over the border into New South Wales.  

Days later parts of my state of Victoria experienced the worst floods in 100 years and border towns are still sandbagging against the peak of the flow creeping towards them. Expected bumper crops, looking good with a little rain after 13 years of drought, have been destroyed with the flood and thus, has sent many farmers under for good.

I wanted to know how New Orleans was faring 5 1/2 years after that tragedy and happened upon the site of Richard Bienvenu.  It is with his kind permission that the above poem is shared.  Human spirit is indeed universal!  Thank you, Richard.  

Art:  'French Quarter' Lidia Dynner

14 comments:

steven said...

the parallel between new orleans and the australian floods is striking. the human cost - staggering and still unfolding. steven

Mason Canyon said...

The floods in New Orleans and Australia are devastating. There has been so much lost in both areas that will never be recovered, not to mention the loss of lives.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

alaine@éclectique said...

Steven...it will take years to repair infrastructure; souls will never heal.

alaine@éclectique said...

Mason...indeed and the loss of livelihood. The cost of food has already risen astronomically.

T. Clear said...

Alaine, my husband and I both love all that is New Orleans. In fact, my late husband's mother grew up there, so my children have southern roots. We visited the city three years after the flood, and it was a profoundly moving experience. I could go on and on here, but won't. My hope is that the devastation your country is experiencing will be managed better than what has been left of NOLA. There are some great NOLA links posted on the sidebar of my husband's blog: http://killiansaid.blogspot.com/

We took a tour of the 9th ward...the van driver drove us by her house, which had been condemned. After the three hour tour, my only response was that of stunned silence. There were no words to describe what I'd just experienced.

The HBO series, "Treme", is set in post-Katrina NOLA. If you can manage to get your hands on it, I recommend it highly.

Nancy said...

I am so very sorry for the terrible flooding in your country. I have been watching and hurting for all of the people and animals affected by this catastrophe.

alaine@éclectique said...

T...many thanks and I can well imagine how you felt after that tour. I went to K's blog...goodness, they have so many festivals in NO; I hope most of them raise money to help people rebuild their lives.

I'm extremely interested in that series, "Treme", after reading reviews. I only hope one of our stations pick it up, otherwise I can order the DVD of the first season.

alaine@éclectique said...

Nancy...it is unbelievable! We're the lucky ones and I cry every time I see news coverage of it.

Betsy said...

Beautiful! I've been to the French Quarter in New Orleans ...it looks just like that. Love the ferns hanging from the balconies! Lots of hanging pots of red flowers were mixed in the time I was there. Sigh...just lovely!

alaine@éclectique said...

Betsy...lucky you; it would be great to just mosey on down there but the trip from here would take well over 30 hours. My brother had a trip to NO planned a while back but had to cancel, as his wife got sick and died. He's a real jazz buff.

Teri said...

Alaine--I'm worried about you now after reading the news tonight about your coastal area expecting a cyclone. Are you going to be alright? I'm not aware of where you are located and I hope that you will be spared. Things in the world have gotten so crazy recently. It's starting to scare me. Predictions...apocalypse...??? I hate to see so many people suffering. Australia has already suffered so much this year. Let me hear from you.

alaine@éclectique said...

Teri...thanks for your concern. Yes, it is very frightening and so many of these huge disasters are happening world-wide.

The cyclone is predicted to hit tomorrow evening on north and far north Queensland. We live way down South of Australia in Victoria; a long way from there. My two brothers and my son live in Queensland but I think they'll be safe where they are. Queensland experiences a lot of this sort of weather but this one is really scary. Queenslanders don't need this after the recent floods!

Maureen Walsh said...

Hi Alaine, I love reading your blog. I am so sorry for the devastation that has happened throughout your country over the last weeks. The comparison between what's happening in Australia and what happened in New Orleans is compelling! I will take a moment to be grateful. Thank you.
MaureenbX
http://wwworphanstones.blogspot.com

Renée Finberg said...

floods are horrible.
though i have never personally experienced one
i know that there are several lasting effects.

mold for one.

i pray for your countrymen,
i hope this horrible season passes quickly as it came.

xx