Summer 2006 • Vol. XXVIII No. 3 Nonfiction |

Katrina Five Ways

1. History Didn't [s]he ramble… [s]he rambled Rambled all around… in and out of townDidn't [s]he ramble… didn't [she ramble [S]he rambled till the butcher cut [her] down             —New Orleans Funeral Dirge On my first trip back, I found New Orleans unspeakably lonely. The devastation wrought by the levee breaks went on and on, block after block in Lakeview (where I grew up), Mid-City (where my mother lived), the Lower Ninth Ward, and St. Bernard Parish—areas once shimmering with funky life, now lifeless and forlorn. Everywhere dump trucks trolled—FEMA paid by the load. Men with masks directed traffic, sometimes in Hazmat gear. I passed huge dumping areas piling ever higher, flooded cars, blocks and blocks boarded up. I faced one surprise detour after another. Refrigerators taped shut against their stench littered the sidewalks. Many trees and all the grass were dead—drowned. Everywhere I looked for the high-water line—sometimes

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Since 1980 Randy Fertel has taught the literature of the Vietnam War at Harvard, Tulane, and the New School for Social Research. Kenyon Review published his “Carpe Vitam: How to Do Things with Spontaneity” in the March/April based on his new book A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation (Spring Journal Books, March 2015).

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