Interlude: Truman Capote in New Orleans

After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, talk circulated among those who didn’t know better that the Crescent City should not be rebuilt, that it was located in a dangerous spot and the residents would be better off living somewhere else. There were several problems with this line of thinking, the main one being that many outsiders didn’t appreciate how tightly woven longtime New Orleans residents are with their beloved city.

I was reading an 1946 essay by Truman Capote about his hometown when I came across a snippet that seems to perfectly illustrate the situation. Capote is describing an elderly woman whom he calls Miss Y.

“Miss Y does not believe in the world beyond N.O.; at times her insularity results, as it did today, in rather chilling remarks. I had mentioned a recent trip to New York, whereupon she, arching an eyebrow, replied gently: “Oh? And how are things in the country?”

-Geoff Schumacher


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