Always wanted to see New Orleans . . .
But I guess that I never will.
The place just barely missed the brunt of the storm, thought that it had survived, then found itself inundated when the levees broke.
Result? Eighty percent of the city under water. Hundreds, even thousands, feared dead. Total evacuation ordered. Expected to be empty for the next two or three months.
They say that the New Orleans will never be the same. From the photos and news, I believe it.
To a boy like I was, growing up in the Ozarks, New Orleans might as well have been on the other side of the world. Now, I'm living in Seoul, and it really does lie on the world's other side.
One of my best friends from Berkeley, Lionel Jensen, comes from New Orleans, and used to talk about the Yats of Gnaw Lynn's Loozie Anna.
"What's a 'Yat'?" I asked.
"You mean 'Where y'at?'" Lionel 'explained.'
"No, 'What's a 'Yat'?" I repeated.
"Where y'at?" Lionel insisted.
Our dialogue remained stuck there for a while till Lionel grew tired of my obtuseness and explained that "Yats" are New Orleans natives who eat a lot of batter-fried Cajun cooking, tend to get quite fat, and say "Where y'at?" when they mean "How are you, today?"
Lionel showed me a book of Yat dialogue overheard on the streets of New Orleans. In one conversation, two old folks were talking about juvenile delinquents and how bad these young criminals were.
Once said, "Ah wuz at Woolwuts thuh othuh day, 'cause Ah had tuh get some shoos, and they stole 'em off mah feet befoh Ah'd even paid foh 'em!"
The other person commiserated, "They'd a-stole Chris' off thuh cross if 'e 'adn't been nailed down!"
I've probably mangled the dialect, but you get the drift.
Now, that world has disappeared under twenty or thirty feet of water.