Crescent City spirit, or just bad mojo? More readers respond to Joshua Clark's daily dispatch from the French Quarter, "Apocalypse N.O."

Published September 15, 2005 8:04PM (EDT)

[Read the first round of reader letters. Read "New Orleans After Dark" and "Partying at the End of the World."

I'm finding it hard to stomach Joshua Clark's daily self-indulgent column from the French Quarter. I'm all for finding beauty in the midst of chaos and life in the midst of death -- but celebrating swilling wine while so many still don't have water? I've enjoyed much of Salon's reporting, but I hope enough readers complain about this one to warrant canceling it.

-- Lydia Ruffin

It's hard to argue with the mainstream media portrayal of a tragedy like Katrina as an entity with one face. The truth of it is overwhelming. Understandably, most people buy in to it and it forms their packaged view of the phenomenon with its death, destruction and suffering.

But it ain't that simple. Life has many slices. Inevitably, some will be generally taken as politically incorrect. However, if you've ever been to New Orleans you know that, more so than in most cities, the "good times (always) roll" despite the astounding poverty, crime and other social depravity "normally" to be found there.

These clowns are partying with the mosquitoes. C'est la vie. It was a good read.

-- Gary Hardenbrook

I read the letters responding to "Partying at the End of the World." I'm glad I didn't have to write a detailed rant of my own. Others had done it for me. Salon owes its readers and New Orleans residents a sincere top-of-the-Web-site apology.

-- Mark Sengel

So there are some decadent frat-boy types remaining in the Quarter, documenting the experience with gonzo journalism -- which is different from their regular routine how? Oh yes, they're going to be reporting in the days to come on more than just how they got drunk and were bitten by mosquitoes. In fact, they already have.

Pooling resources during a disaster and partying may seem a little "Mask of the Red Death," but honestly, it's what people do. Plus communal spirit is good for mental health, and sharing your excess good fortune is part of that.

When California had its blackout some years back, a slightly goth penchant on my part made it such that ours was the only house in the midsummer heat wave well stocked with not only candles but candelabras. Add the pool and the barbecue, and the refuge that Clark describes seems pretty familiar, especially when you include our neighbors who otherwise would have sat in stifling pitch-dark houses, rather than attend a pool party with blazing candelabras.

Of course, that's a cakewalk compared with the current situation in the Quarter, and the Quarter's a cakewalk compared with life in the flooded sections of the city. But you have to tell all the stories if you want to give the full picture, and I'm happy to see Clark's brighter facet.

-- Kevin A. Murphy

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------