ABSTRACT

When Andrei Codrescu wrote “between New Orleans and New York stretches the fifteen hundred miles of frontline in America’s meanest war: that between time and timelessness,” neither he nor the world had yet witnessed the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent retaliations.1 While the world ponders just what is America’s meanest war, it is instructive to reconsider the relationship between New Orleans and New York and the role assigned New Orleans in the post-9/11 nation. On Sunday, September 30, 2001, New Orleans occupied center page in the Travel section of the New York Times. Two large photographs from New Orleans stretched the width of the newspaper: one, a folk art mural of diasporic yet celebratory inclinations that hangs in a Magazine Street gallery: the other, City Park’s Ladybug roller coaster bearing happy riders and emerging from the boughs of a live oak tree laden with Spanish moss. The mural piques the viewer’s curiosity, presenting not only music, dance, and toasts to camaraderie, but also pilgrimage, or at least movement, across an enigmatic landscape. The City Park photograph draws the viewer into the luscious treetops where neither she nor the metal ladybug need concern themselves with gravity and other events on the ground. Between the two photographs is the headline: “New Orleans, Without the Beads.” Above the photographs under the category, Air Travel, is the headline “In a Changed World, Passengers Face New Sets of Hurdles,” and beneath this headline two articles are noted: “With flights cut, you may not be able to get there from here” and “At Airports, anxiety is consistent but security levels vary.” To the right of these titles is a modest-sized photograph of blackclad airport security in Atlanta, one man with a large dog and another on a bicycle. Beneath the two large New Orleans photographs is the category, Getting Home, and the headline, “After the Attacks, Odysseys.”