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Tom Piazza - Why New Orleans Matters

By Remy Benoit

Once upon a time, in those oh so very long ago days of grad school, I came to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and fell in love with the Crescent City.

She is like no other.

I have walked the Appian Way, stood atop the Acropolis in a thunderstorm feeling the depth of the ancient beliefs in that cradle of democracy. I have dined in Paris, marveled at the wonders of Firenze.

But New Orleans has my heart.

Some who visit are meant to stay; others to take her joie de vivre home with them, forever changed.

Tom’s Piazzza’s, Why New Orleans Matters takes us into the blood heat of the city. It is a small book, sans photographs, overflowing with word pictures that will make you see, make you feel, hear, and, indeed, taste the collective soul of our beloved city.

Whether you walk the streets: Uptown; Downtown or those of the Vieux Carré, the food, the music, the warmth of the people, wrap themselves around you, seep into your heart, into your blood; you become part of her glorious history, changing you, changing her, with your footsteps.

And that is the wonder of New Orleans; her collective soul steeped in heat of the city, in the amalgam of ethnicities, beliefs, cuisines, and, oh YES, music, that have bred a culture like no other anywhere else.

Even if you have never come to her steamy streets, or watched the rain bounce off her banquettes, New Orleans has kept you fed with supplies coming and going through her ports. She has warmed you with oil and natural gas. She has made your heart sing with the Jazz that moved out of Storeyville during the War to End All Wars; with her unrivaled cuisine.

Ride a bike with Tom Piazza across her length and breadth; walk her streets with him, take her music and food into you. Open the door to Mary’s home with Tom after Katrina, and begin, just barely begin to understand what it feels like to find your private world desecrated, buried, rotten with things of which you do not even want to know the provenance.
Why New Orleans Matters is a portrait of “fatalism and defiant optimism” that our city will shine again.

It is a blessing of ‘thank you’ for food, for hope, for being alive.

Read this book, and know, without doubt, why we so love her; why New Orleans must, and will, shine again; and why she is essential to the continuance of the country as a whole.

She is the Crescent City, she is Nouvelle-Orléans; having visited, or not, she is part, a wondrous part, of the blood flow of this country.

Once she touches you, you will never be the same.

New Orleans is in danger now; her very life is hanging in the balance. Help wipe away her tears. Sit down to table with us, pass some time with us, listen to her music, and then help us, help her.

Please read Why New Orleans Matters and come home to the music of our city..

Please join me and Tom Piazza at French Quarter Fiction: Newest Stories of America’s Oldest Bohemia. $2 of every purchase goes to
Katrina Arts Relief and Emergency Support.


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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