One of the great things about Intersection | New Orleans -- besides the beautiful artwork and thoughtful writing contributed by 50 local and well-known artists and writers -- is its ability to make the reader think about his or her own city map, the streets and places we call our stomping grounds, the people whose paths we've crossed. New Orleans being so old and so gracefully worn, the physical is always there to remind us. Lately, we feel vulnerable to losing our hearts and minds because of this very fact. Good or bad, we each have our own communal and individual memories tied to these intersections and paths. The question that hurts then is, if place reminds us of our memories, what happens when there is no place? Hence the term "displaced" and all the horrific feelings that come from the actual state. But look around hard, look around at all the people who are here day in and day out: we're not placeless. With much work, high demands and a little luck, New Orleans will be okay.
There could be several volumes of Intersection | New Orleans. Every New Orleanian could submit his or her story, could tell everything about their lives through the exercise of writing about where they've been. I suggest this exercise for people who are still inexpressibly mourning the loss of things and friends. This collection of stories and pictures inspires such a project, and this city absolutely demands a record for all that came before and all that will come after. Katrina is prevalent in many of these haunting images and recollections, but she is only one more crossroad, a mere roadblock if you feel so bold, in the long history of this city. The good news is we won't ever cross paths with her again. But we will always remember. Nothing can take that away. Beauty was here before and it is all around us today.
Press Street collective hosts an art show and book-release party to celebrate our city, Uptown and downtown, and to contribute to the literacy and art programs for New Orleans' youth. All of the book's proceeds benefit NOCCA/Riverfront's writing program. -- Katie Walenter
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 24
LÕArt noir gallery, 4108 St. Claude Ave. ; www.press-street.com