We all live on the edge of mortality. A penchant for denial is the most un-strange thing in the world. Masks are a routine function of daily life—and they were of course precisely the thing being sold at that fashion and apparel convention that I was so anxious to escape. A penchant for denial is what allows most of us to gossip about fashion or search for meaning or otherwise go about our business in one city, while the social contract dissolves and trapped people die of thirst in another. Disasters, large and small, natural or otherwise, are always proximate. Learning to live with that is not what sets the people of New Orleans apart, it is what binds them to us. This—more than any of the many things about the city that are special, unique, irreplaceable—is the reason you should care about New Orleans, and its people, and their future.
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