Thursday, December 14, 2006

Johnny White's never closed: Radley has a piece at Reason about the infamous Johnny White's Sports Bar & Grill, the bar in New Orleans' French Quarter that never closed during Katrina or the aftermath. He visited the bar back in the fall and describes it well.

I snagged a picture of the quite unassuming sign outside the bar when I visited back around Labor Day, so I guess I was one of those tourists he describes, taking pictures outside of the places they probably know best from CNN or Fox News. Can't find the picture right now, but it's not much to see. Neither is the bar it hangs over.

That's one of the challenges with preserving/rebuilding New Orleans. Even before Katrina, the places most people were likely to see was not always very pretty. When I was taking The Skirt around town on our visit I found myself often pointing out some building of interest (to me) or driving down a street that I frequented, and saying yeah this hasn't changed at all. Many times she had just assumed this was neighborhood that had been devestated by hurricane winds and flooding. I mean, streets just aren't supposed to buckle like that under normal circumstances. And bars like Johnny White's would get shut down by the health department in almost any city. It would be easy to say, as a tourist, "Holy shit, this is what we're spending hundreds of billions to save?"

Anyway, I'm just rambling here, with little point, except that I wonder still what New Orleans will look like next month, next year and beyond. Would status quo ante be good enough, or is that even achievable? I don't know, but I keep watching. Occassionally there's a spot of hope, qualified as it may be. Here's one.

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