For my New Orleans tribe, on our unwanted anniversary: \r\n\r\nSo. It\'s been two years. The memorials and the commemorations and the celebrations are ramping up, and I have to admit, I won\'t be attending any of the hullabaloo.\r\n\r\nThis time last year, I was living in my gutted house as my man & I put it back together around us. It was hot and exhausting and I\'ve never worked so hard in my life. When I asked anybody, everybody, if they were going to any of the K-related festivities, the answer was always the same: \"Hell no.\" They were working on their own houses, going to their jobs, living their lives. The consensus was that the memorials were more for political photo-ops for the money-rich or time-rich, than they were for the populace of a city for whom the hard work had only just begun.\r\n\r\nTherefore, that I\'m moved to write this now makes me something of a hypocrite, doesn\'t it? And yet, I don\'t want to talk about that rainy, windy, bitch, or the failure of our federal government to protect us with the money we gave them for that purpose, or the crazy, exhausting blur of the last two years as we all try to regain some normalcy in the midst of lives that even before, had anything but.\r\n\r\nWhat I want to do is congratulate all of you who have dug in, soldiered on, gritted your teeth, rolled up your sleeves, and are working to make your home, your city, and your lives your own again.\r\n\r\nNo one else, anywhere else, will ever understand what it is you\'ve been through like we do. They may cluck with sympathy, they may have sent money on to the Red Cross, they may have housed you in a faraway land, they may have changed the channel when yet another story came on about stupid, destroyed New Orleans who got what it deserved, but here, we GET it. Like it or not, we have been made into one extended, dysfunctional family with a shared reality. Where else in the world can such an innocuous question as \"How much water did you get?\" take on such onerous overtones? Where else does a Lowe\'s or Home Depot resemble a multicultural circus? Where else can you laugh, or cry, over a Wednesday afternoon cocktail as you compare skyrocketing costs of sheetrock and wiring?\r\n\r\nI know New Orleans is aggravating, scary and crime-ridden as hell. The frightened, dangerous children, killing other children when they\'re not making more or brutalizing the rest of us. The crumbling infrastructure. The caboose-less parade of corrupt officials begging forgiveness for that which they crucified their constituency. The streets that still flood, the missing road signs that confuse even the longest-term residents, the lackluster schools, the poverty cheek-by-jowl with the entitled, the escalating crime rate coupled with an overburdened, understaffed police force. The reasons to leave seem almost insurmountable.\r\n\r\nBut even these things bind us together with invisible threads of simpatico and camaraderie. The rest of the country will never understand why we fight to keep living here. They see a week of flashy parades and cheap baubles and overindulgence and can\'t equate all the difficulties with a blip of perceived debauchery. But still, they visit US. And when their vacation is over they return to cookie-cutter lives replete with ticky-tacky houses, 80 hour workweeks, air-conditioned muzak elevators and two hour commutes. They drive-thru a Burger King for dinner and get home just in time to numb themselves in front of the television before passing out and doing it all over again the next day.\r\n\r\nWhat they don\'t understand is that here, we are free to be our ourselves, more than anywhere else I\'ve ever been. I can afford to make a living as an artist here, own a home here. Here, the question is not \"What do you?\", but \"What are you passionate about?\" Here, we have whole rooms devoted to our kink, be it costuming, painting, metalworking, music-making, glass-blowing, or...kink. Here, we can devote our lives to being ourselves, and I\'ll make any sacrifice I have to in order to live the way I want, and be surrounded by people who do the same. It\'s real here. We\'re not isolated from the realities of life and death. We live hard every damned day, we know what we\'re up against, and it makes the good times all the sweeter. We FEEL things here. We\'ve learned how tenuous our hold is on life, and we respect it all the more because of that knowledge. We\'ve been isolated in a plastic place, and I don\'t ever want to be there again.\r\n\r\nSo to all of you who are sticking it out, working your asses off, rebuilding your homes, restarting your lives, and are using this hellish setback as an opportunity to make better, brighter lives for yourselves and your city, thank you.\r\n\r\nYou are the ones who make it all worth it.\r\n


“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed May 27, 2024,