Thursday, May 13, 2010

A tale of three cities

Nothing much to report today.  It was a day involving onerous bank errands.  Let's just say I have nothing kind to say about Capitol One.  New Orleans and Boston don't have any banks in common, unfortunately. If you think that America is losing its regional characteristics, you can look at the banking industry.  I don't know if there is a single nationwide bank, but there don't seem to be any Boston Harbor-Lake Pontchartrain connections.  Even Bank of America, which has a name that would make you suspect otherwise.

Anyhow, I was reading up on the Lower Ninth Ward and that led to reading about celebrities that have ties to New Orleans.  There is a chain of connections here.  I was first led to Brad Pitt, who is known for supporting the Crescent City post-Katrina and building new homes in the Lower 9th.
I don't really follow Mr. Pitt's activities and he and I don't seem to have much in common except one thing:  Both our beards contain more salt than pepper and neither of us seems to be able to sprout a real robust bush of facial hair.

I never saw the film, Interview with the Vampire, though I did read the book as a pre-teen.  I found the whole thing fascinating though I don't recall any of the homosexuality or androgyny for which this series has gotten some notoriety.  I haven't reread it since then.  Brad Pitt played Louis in the film adaptation and that linked me to reading about Anne Rice, who is a native New Orleanian and who set the novel in this city.

Anne Rice looks a lot like someone I once knew, also a writer, but perhaps more importantly, one of the drivers of downtown New London, CT's revitalization.  I lived in New London for ten years, hence the "Whalehead" moniker.  New London is Connecticut's Whaling City (not to be confused with New Bedford, MA).

While New London is only a fraction the size of New Orleans (5 square miles, 26,000 inhabitants) the two places share a few traits.  Both inspire loyalty.  New London was a source of inspiration for me, charming me and priming my creative juices.  Nothing against Boston, where I've spent the past three years, but the Athens of America has left me lukewarm most of the time.  If you are interested in learning how I thought of New London, the Dot Matrix archives prior to June 2007 contain plenty of examples.  My style and persona have changed but my admiration for New London and its citizens has not.  Be warned that the Matrix used to have a black background so some of these articles may not be very eye-friendly.  They are, in my opinion, worth squinting at and some are more legible than others if you keep scrolling down.

Will I be content playing my small role in New Orleans?  I expect so.  While it is the scene of terrible tragedies it is also the setting for unbridled celebration.  Like New London, it is a city of opportunity, a place where people live life to its fullest, a metropolis of the mind as much as it is made up of timber and brick and asphalt.  New Orleans, like New London, is more than a museum, it is a city of love as well as tears.  Boston is everything you've heard.  I enjoyed my sojourn in my Dorchester neighborhood and I've enjoyed the cultural attractions Boston has to offer.  I enjoyed eating baked beans for breakfast and baked beans as candy.

I'm back in Boston for a few weeks at month's end.  While I won't be entirely cutting the cord, I'll return as a Nutmeg New Orleanian.  I'm not expecting as much culture shock moving 1500 miles south as I did when I moved 100 miles north.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails