A few weekends back I spurned my habitually uninspiring Sunday Times fare and sunk into the couch with Keep Loving, Keep Fighting / I Hate This Part of Texas (#7), a beautifully written combination of two zines out of New Orleans. Hours later, I peeled myself off the cushions, lost in a reverie for a lost city, but comforted by stabs of gratitude for the folks there still fighting the good fight. The zine’s writers, Hope and John, present a series of sporadically ordered flashes of Katrina aftermath, from plugging away at a youth-oriented bike clinic to spreading the news of a beloved friend’s murder:
It felt like evacuation all over again, people calling one another with jagged voices, hushed hoarse whispers not wanting to utter the unthinkable. Asking to check in about this person or that, ending every conversation with I love you.
In our May-June 2007 issue, we reprinted Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose’s wrenchingly honest chronicle of his descent into depression covering Katrina’s destruction (article not available online). Hope and John’s diary-like recollections moved me in a similar way, for their candor in grappling with the ugliness, kindness, resentment, beauty, fear, and pain that so many must navigate in their efforts to survive and resurrect life in New Orleans. At the end, a list of organizations doing good work in the city comes as a welcome coda of opportunities for action.