Commonplace

New_orleans_rain

St. Ann Street, New Orleans, LA. 5 August 2007.

“Only in the old cities—like New Orleans—built long before cars, do walking humans still feel at home. In New Orleans, life is a pedestrian. People navigate their streets like fish: The streets are our medium, a fluid and changing spectacle that is also the stuff we breathe in and out. It’s a city for watching and being watched, a voyeur-voyee paradise that reaches an apogee at Carnival, when everything that can be shown is made manifest, everything that was hidden is displayed, and one’s senses are ambushed. At Mardi Gras the city becomes impassable to cars. A swelling humanity moves in and out of itself, full of a mysterious and alive intimacy that the drivers of America never experience. New Orleans at Carnival is seditious, un-American, sabotage incarnate—what General Motors sees in nightmares! The huge motorized floats at the head of Mardi Gar parades are grotesque parodies of cars. They insult cars. They move at a pace slower than that of most people. Masked demons perched on top of them shower the intoxicated mob with doubloons, jewels, cigars, panties, and coconuts. People lean on parked cars, sleep on them, use them for planters and ashtrays.”

—Andrei Codrescu, “Moving Faster Than My Body,” New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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