New Orleans, Mon Amour: 20 Years of Writing from the City

Andrei Codrescu

If Charles Bukowski had had a love child with Anne Rice, and it emulated Andy Rooney … it would write this book. Andrei Codrescu is well suited to NPR’s All Things Considered, and travelogues, but one brain lobe is addled by “professors can’t write” syndrome. He laments John Kennedy Toole’s suicide over publisher’s rejection, but Codrescu’s neo-hip ilk was also responsible (high-profile schmoozers with an “angle” prevail over gifted unknowns). However, I found the subject matter and ideological focus of Codrescu’s collection of short sketches of the fabled city to be quite interesting. For me, New Orleans holds an innate David Lynch quality. The dreamy, fetid languor of decadence, dilapidation and hoary antiquity has lured writers and dreamers for centuries (in 1840 a German baron wrote of the gays, whores, pedophiles and vampires). Disease, crime, corruption and muggy ennui are the down side. I wanted to be among the visiting “people who never left,” but Codrescu says it’s too late for me; Katrina has taken the city’s soul.