A Silence Broken (originally posted 08.29.2006)

An old Selmer tenor sax cuts the thick air along the river behind Cafe DuMonde with a melody from deep in the heart of Coleman Hawkins. The Canal Street Ferry blows a low tone as she returns from Algiers, and the big engines of the river boats fill out the bottom of the harmony that is the French Quarter. The rhythm is tapped out by the metal shoes of the carriage horses that escort visitors down Toulouse past Royal and Bourbon Street. The Quarter has a song unique in all the world.

The piercing cry of a baby, curled up hungry and alone, lofts above the roar of the bus that takes her young mother to work. The audible and enveloping drone of hopelessness moves through the Desire Street Projects. The rhythm cuts deep as the rapid report of a Glock 9mm drops another grandson to the blood stained ground of the 5-4. The Lower 9th Ward has a song unique in all the world.

New Orleans is a bitter sweet symphony where carefree and hopelessness awaits a tragic crescendo. Katrina, long anticipated, always feared, shattered this tension filled orchestration. Her deafening wail so out of tune. When her excruciating solo was over the band was gone and a global audience sat numb and confused. New Orleans had a silence unique in all the world.

The distinct tone that is New Orleans has resonated across the land. A season has passed and the chorus builds one voice at a time. The horns are muted, the baby’s cry faint, but the silence is broken. The leader of the band stands ready to arrange, to harmonize. The Great I am is our Conductor. While the Composer sits in a place of silence, He is the one who forms a collection of monotone elements into a masterpiece of meter and harmony.

New Orleans we must trust our song to the skillful hand of the Almighty Maestro.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his Temple; praise him in his mighty heaven. Praise him for his strength; praise him for his greatness. Praise him with trumpet blasts; praise him with harps and lyres. Praise him with tambourines and dancing; praise him with stringed instruments and flutes. Praise him with loud cymbals; praise him with crashing cymbals. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. (Psalm 150)