Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blogging for ours

While there a number of suitable topics to cover this date including the horrible anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, I was most drawn to a column today written by local Times-Picayune writer Chris Rose. Rose and I have met on a few occasions, but he has more or less operated outside of my circle of friends since he began writing his column in 2000. His 60 second interviews have always been pretty enjoyable fare and I've seen him as a legitimate voice of the people. Some years previous to Hurricane Katrina, he had appeared on several local stages including Le Chat Noir's "Galatoire's Monologues" "The A**hole Monologues,"and "I Love My Kid, But..." But Hurricane Katrina greatly affected Rose, like many of us. His "One Dead in Attic," a series of remembrances from the early days of recovery in New Orleans, was a powerful set of columns written around the storm and collectively published about a year after the storm. He detailed how he, his wife and their children were sent off to live afar in the days preceding and following the storm and the floods that resulted from the levee breaks. When he returned to work, his coverage of life on the streets in a neighborhood without power proved to be a window on the soul of what was then a soulless city. Rose's power of description hit home pretty hard, especially for lifelong residents of New Orleans like me who were forced to live in exile. It was only a year or so ago that Rose revealed to his readers that he had despaired so much that he had to seek medical treatment. He acknowledged that the stress of the slow recovery and its impact on him and his wife had placed great strain on their marriage. Today I read about Rose's description of Ashley Morris, a man who took him to task regularly in his daily blog and who, unbeknownst to Rose was his neighbor. Morris' blog titled the "Library Chronicles" criticized anything that seemed to be detrimental to the city in his estimation. Rose describes how he read Morris regularly to see what criticism he might be leveling at him. But he didn't realize that the criticism was coming from across his street. Morris wrote Rose to complain about Entergy gasline repairs that were destroying the old street name tiles built into the sidewalk corners. When Morris complained about "our corner," Rose wrote him back asking him what he meant by that phrase. It was then that Rose learned that the neighbor he used to think was a fine, upstanding guy was in fact this troublemaker from the blogospher. That was just a few weeks ago at the end of March. Despite a bit of trepidation on his part, Rose agreed to meet Morris when he returned to town. As fate woud have it, Morris never came back. He died on the road just a few days later in a hotel room, leaving behind a widow and three young children. A jazz funeral followed last week, but Rose's grudging admiration for a tireless champion of New Orleans culture is obvious. So too is Rose's talent for dealing with one of his online detractors whom he eventually took to his very large heart. For those who wish to read the entire column, go to:

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