Monday, February 2, 2009

New Orleans 27.3.1984: Singing Mockingbirds, Tawdry Quarter

A cool evening, after an afternoon heating shower. I’m sitting on the patio listening to the mockingbirds. Towards sundown they love to sit atop trees and sing. I have been watching one as its throat catches the now horizontal light. I can smell the cedars around the patio. . . .

Yesterday I went to town and shopped. The French Quarter is even tawdrier on Saturday—not the Quarter itself, but the way it presents itself for a summer weekday during holiday time, like a lonely old dame plying her wares, decking herself out as an American commercial seductress. Not much in our culture remains untainted by commercialism: to wit, I went to town to shop because the thrift stores have only polyester clothes. In this climate, wearing spun plastic seems crazy. Yet in the heart of one of the richest cotton-growing areas in the world, we wear petroleum-based clothes, and cotton is priced out of sight. In the height of Louisiana strawberry season, I could buy only jumbo, and tasteless, California berries. Why? All profit, all market.

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