New Orleans, Mon Amour
Twenty Years of Writings from the City
By Andrei Codrescu
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Paperback, 9781565125056, 288pp.
Publication Date: January 2006
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Codrescu's essays have been called "satirical gems," "subversive," "sardonic and stunning," "funny," "gonzo," "wittily poignant," and "perverse" here is a writer who perfectly mirrors the wild, voluptuous, bohemian character of New Orleans itself. This retrospective follows him from newcomer to near native: first seduced by the lush banana trees in his backyard and the sensual aroma of coffee at the cafe down the block, Codrescu soon becomes a Window Gang regular at the infamous bar Molly's on Decatur, does a stint as King of Krewe de Vieux Carre at Mardi Gras, befriends artists, musicians, and eccentrics, and exposes the city's underbelly of corruption, warning presciently about the lack of planning for floods in a city high on its own insouciance. Alas, as we all now know, Paradise is lost.
"New Orleans, Mon Amour" is an epic love song, a clear-eyed elegy, a cultural celebration, and a thank-you note to New Orleans in its Golden Age.