A Non-Jury Post: On New Orleans
I'm going off-message this morning to remind people that New Orleans is more than just a big convention town and the home of Mardi Gras: it is the home of American music. Ragtime emerged from the New Orleans "second line" rhythms - the music played returning from the cemetery during the traditional black funerals. (The first line was the dirge played going to the cemetery.) The drum set and brushes were both invented in New Orleans. Jazz, modern blues, swing, and even rock and roll can all be traced to New Orleans as well.
Federal appeals in my neck of the woods are argued in N'awlins, so I've visited the place many times. There is no place like it used to be; nobody knows what it will be like when it re-emerges. Let us hope that the uniquely American spirit that was New Orleans survives this disaster.