Ode to New Orleans

This poem was inspired by the tragedy and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Way down in the bayou
Among the swamp and below the sea
Lay a city of enchantment
Where everyone wanted to be

Known for its culture
Its music and food
A place to let loose
Where even the bad was good

The history itself
Was something to behold
And like its many revelers
Outlandish and bold

A checkerboard city
With neighbors both rich and poor
A place to find inspiration
Or simply settle a score

Some called it the Big Easy
Many just called it home
Where visitors acted like locals
Always chanting ‘When in Rome’

The majesty of the river
Seemed to always set the tone
And even if you were there by yourself
You never quite felt alone

‘Cause even the strangers were family
And everyone next to you a friend
Where it all began with hospitality
And where the nights would never end

From ethnicity to cuisine
The flavor quite eclectic
And like the blues that filled the streets
The rhythm was never hectic

And though perfection
Was far, far away
Everyone who came to visit
Left with a desire to stay

To call what happened
A national tragedy
Does not properly explain
The scope of catastrophe

How can a storm
Whose name translates to hope
Leave a jewel of a city
Beaten and pinned against the ropes

No one could foresee
The devastation that was to come
The unbiased rage of nature
The totality of the sum

And like her neighbors
That lay ruined to the East
The city was flattened
As if ravaged by a beast

Mothers and Fathers
Native sons and daughters
All of whose futures
Where as murky as floodwaters

They cried and they suffered
And chaos reigned supreme
If only they could steam away
Aboard the Mississippi Queen

The charm and enchantment
Seemed to all wash away
When the levees and dykes
Failed and gave way

To waters without mercy
With no direction or path
The final blow of a storm
That delivered hell’s wrath

Many would die
And thousands more would suffer
But faith would prevail
And the city recover

Like a night in The Quarter
Drinking hurricanes at Pat O’s
The hangover would last how long?
No one really knows

But the strength of a nation
And the faith of a city
Would restore the luster
To what was once so pretty

The city of New Orleans
In all of its irony
Would be made ‘new’ again
And restore its destiny

As a natural treasure
A city to be cherished
Because it was reborn and survived
When we all thought it had perished

Click for the song version. Ode to New Orleans recorded and performed by Chris Glover.

<return to my collection>


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