A Letter from New Orleans
"I was in Dharamsala, India in late August when I heard that a major hurricane was approaching New Orleans. I was there with the Louisiana Himalayan Association (a group I belong to that works with Tibetan refugees), teaching English and making plans for future programs there for my students in New Orleans. Ironically, I soon found out that I was to leave the Tibetan refugee community to return to what had itself become a city of refugees. When I arrived home I found a city of empty streets, fallen trees, debris scattered everywhere, abandoned cars, flood-ravaged houses, and eerie silence. Since then I’ve been working with the cleanup effort in my neighborhood and with several grassroots organizations around the city. Over the past month the city has slowly begun to come back, as symbolized by the “second line” jazz funeral parade that marched through the city Sunday—the first time this has happened since the hurricane.(On Elisée Reclus, see here. On Katrina, see here.)
The following reflections are a bit in the spirit of a jazz funeral—they mourn our collective tragedy but speak out also for our collective hope."