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Sunday, September 4, 2011
Take Nothing for Granted
Now, of course, I don't mean me, the portly, unimportant man I have become while living in New Orleans. I mean Bigezbear. And they found this place by Googling, "schwegmann's supermarket on st. claude."
This strikes me as a most amazing thing. Someone far away, in the middle of the North Atlantic, knows of our old grocery-store chain and took a hankering to recollect the old store that had once stood on the corner of Elysian Fields and St. Claude Avenues.
Before Katrina came six years ago, the son of old John Schwegmann sold the stores. They all took on new names, Robert's Supermarkets, each and every one of them. The transfer of ownership, though, did not change much. They were still the stores of choice for the natives here, your mommas and your aunties, your neighbors.
Dear voyager, it's gone, that grimy monolith on St. Claude - reduced to a carcass by Katrina herself. The others, too, are gone, either wiped away by wind and water or by a resulting economy that had little cash at hand to restore and reopen them.
That's all of little matter to the new population, intent as it is on re-coloring our town inside the lines of the blueprint sketched by the new architects of the new creative class. After the waters receded, these new folks flooded the city, bearing with them the will and the funding to create a new space where the well-to-do can live comfortably in the trappings which once belonged to the poor.
If it is to be, so be it.
It seems to me, however, we need to remember that nothing in our lives, our world, is insignificant, that everything we encounter - in whatever way we encounter it - has meaning and metaphor.
Respect is due those ghosts who remain and still pass up and down the vacant aisles in that old carcass of a building on the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields. Respect and recollection.
Take nothing for granted, else we all will be sooner or later.