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  • Time in New Orleans has a way of being at once slothful yet impossible to calculate. Measured by calendar, I have been here for nearly three years. Even in this short amount of time I have seen what post-Katrina changes have wrought: the seemingly exponential influx of post-graduates looking to “do good”, the emergence of media-friendly buzzwords: “innovation” and “entrepreneurship.”

    What’s more striking is what that calendar time has not wrought: still-dilapidated houses imposing a rotten-tooth silhouette on the low skyline; “Katrina refugees” deterritorialized in some other sun-bleached (but sterile) city. These are the ticks on a clock that New Orleans, the languorous city, has begun keeping time by.

    Without a clock, however, calendar days transform into dense and stretching epics. When John and I sat along the batture of the Mississippi in the Ninth Ward and suddenly fog enveloped the entire neighborhood, river included, it was cold—a rare feeling in New Orleans—and I felt wondrous. Two years later, John had come and gone from New Orleans twice, each time a stab at my ability to keep time. When had that fog heavily ended our leisurely afternoon? When was he here last? This was time that expanded and contracted, high tide-low tide.

    The rush of memories devoid of a calendar, a city with history so complex and rich that chronology is too scientific a way to recite it: in New Orleans I’m caught between myth and memory. I’ve measured my days here with a new watch and keeping a planner. The day when I rode a bicycle aimlessly with John on Burgundy Street—I cannot remember if we actually saw a band of children crusading with horns or if this is imagined nostalgia from a novella about a New Orleans friendship.
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