A friend of mine sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal (PDF file) about the so-called ‘disaster tours’ that are now cranking up in New Orleans. My friend commented in his email about how ‘weird’ this was. Yeah, the disaster tours are controversial and definitely weird. Here’s my response to his email:
Yep, it is a weird world in New Orleans. And it’s a hard ‘weird’ to describe. It’s not like other weird things that you can analogize to; it’s got a lot of different things mixed in any one of which would be really strange all by themselves. I think the disaster tours are just another part of the weirdness. Some people instinctively recoil at the disaster tours because they look like an unnecessary weirdness, one that is perhaps a bit unseemly. But I think the tours are necessary. Overall, right now, New Orleans is enduring Category 4 weirdness but, unlike the last Category 4 thing that barreled through, we need to stay put and not flee. The post-Katrina weirdness (in all of its manifestations) can’t really destroy anything. It’s just part of the aftermath and we need to accept it. I think it’s great that people outside of the city want to see what happened and try to come to grips with it. You have to see the devastation to even begin to have a sense of how this tragedy is unfolding.
So that’s what I think about the disaster tours, but then maybe I was always a little weird, even before Katrina.