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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 17, 2006

one haijin’s return to new orleans: david lanoue

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:24 pm

Yesterday, I asked professorpoetauthortranslator David Lanoue if he would share his reactions to returning to New Orleans with us. Here, unedited, is his reply, including a few haiku/senryu on the subject:

LanoueSelf from David Lanoue, Feb. 15, 2006:

her pen dries up
she blames

New Orleans is a tale of two cities. I live Uptown, which didn’t flood

seriously for the most part and is now a thriving area. The main signs of
Katrina are the absence of the St. Charles streetcar (expected to be back in
service by this December), the absense of many trees (the shady avenue isn’t
as shady as it once was), and the presence of legions of Mexicans pounding
on rooftops and hauling trash. I’m getting plenty of practice speaking

after the hurricane 
the shady avenue

My worst Katrina complaint is that my landlady raised our rent +$500. But I

count myself very, very lucky. I have friends and colleagues who lost jobs
possessions, and homes.

The other city is grim indeed: vast swaths of neighborhoods lie vacant,

trashed, molding, unlivable. I have friends living in FEMA trailers and holing up in the upstairs rooms of houses with gutted first floors. The feeling in those neighborhoods is depressing, desolate. And the looting continues.


One of my friends was all set to move into her new FEMA trailer yesterday, when she discovered that someone had stolen the electric meter (with no neighbors around, it’s hard for the first returners to get a foothold). But she’s happy to “have” a trailer. Months ago, one was put in her yard by a FEMA contractor, and the trailor was stolen before she ever saw it. (Or, the contractor lied about delivering it; you decide who to believe.)

the city recovers
by restaurant

The most hopeful sign of life and rebuilding is the return of the university students: to Tulane, Xavier (where I teach), Loyola, SUNO… With their return–blessed legions of kids with backpacks on bicycles–more restaurants are reopening; more coffee houses are extending their hours. The students are consumers and they supply the workforce of waiters and dish washers (which, by the way, is a high-paying job these days, given the labor shortage).


Everyone’s hoping for a monumental Mardi Gras. Having lived here 25 years,
I’d grown jaded to Carnival in recent years, seizing the opportunity of days
off to travel elsewhere. This year’s different. I plan to attend every parade; to party in the French Quarter till dawn; to shake the hands of, or plant a kiss on, every out-of-towner I can grab. The City of New Orleans is open for business. Come on down!

blown away by the hurricane
every stripper
I knew

– all poems by David G. Lanoue

 tiny check His coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans has made Ernie the Attorney Svenson and his weblog even more renown. Here’s my plea to David Lanoue to put up a weblog and regularly share his thoughts and poetry on the rebirth of New Orleans with his friends and fans in the haijin community.

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