Sunday, May 13, 2007

Our Lady Of The Driveway - Part 2

Thanks to Athenae at First Draft for the photo and the title. She took this picture when she was in New Orleans at the end of March, when a group of us led by FD bloggers, Athenae and Scout Prime, gathered to gut a house, view the destruction, and squeeze in a little fun.

The statue of the Virgin Mary stood in a driveway. The head was broken off, but someone had put it back in place. The photo and the title struck me with such force when I first saw it that I have never forgotten it. The image of the statue of Mary in the driveway - "Mary, full of grace" as Athenae calls her - was the symbol of my destroyed and broken home town, my abandoned city, my beloved New Orleans - always full of grace to me.

Our Lady Of The Driveway

O Mary of the Driveway,
Broken like your city,
Your head lies on the ground.
A sorry sight, a sign,
A sign of devastation
Wrought by wind and water,
Angry blow and raging flow.

A passer-by, one of tender heart,
Sees and stops and mourns your head
Lying there apart,
And gently, gently takes it
And replaces it.
There. Our Lady's whole again.
Or so it seems. Or is it so?

June Butler - 5-13-07

As hurricane season rapidly approaches, the levees in New Orleans are not properly fixed; the newly installed pumps are inadequate and many don't work. I know that New Orleans is not safer than before Katrina and the levee failures. I'm not an engineer, and I could be wrong, but, from what I've read of what's been done and what's been left undone in the 19 months since the disaster, the city could possibly be less safe than before Katrina.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


  1. Ah yes, Grannie Mimi, I don't know your city directly, but who cannot know her influence throughout the world? And I am rather more certain of her vulnerability right now than I can easily bear; it so easily links me to this administration's evil deeds, and their origins in the "Healing Lite" of our national trauma which began for most of us in what one fine young Historian (Fredrik Logevall) calls "the Long 1964", which begins with the Buddhist Anti-Saigon government Demonstrations in Spring, 1963, led by Thich Nhat Hanh, among others, and ends with the landing of main force U S Marine units in Da Nang in early 1965.

    Teach History? At one time; why do you ask? And, as I think I mentioned, I was one of those whom it began in that Long 1964; it will only end for me when I end.

    Hoa Binh, Tat Ca

    (Peace, everybody)

  2. Johnieb, peace to you. Too little, too late, in 1971, I began to take steps against the Vietnam War. Not great strides, just baby steps.

    So many yet bear the scars from that war, scars both physical, mental, and emotional. And families with great gaping holes where loved ones were once present

    Now a whole new crop of dead are gone, and the wounded in body and soul will be among us for their lifetimes.

    And those scarred by Katrina and the flood and then abandonment by their government will remain with us.

    So many dead. So many wounded.

  3. Thank you GM for a beautiful reflection on the woundedness that afflicts us all.

  4. Ok, let me be just a little irreverent here for a moment. My favorite prayer while circling blocks in New York is “Hail Mary full of Grace, Help me find a parking space”. Now, I’m not saying it works, but I have found a spot on occasion.

    P.S. Does anybody know what happened to MP's blog. It hasn't been updated for awhile and it appears to be having technical difficulty.

  5. Bill, the prayer works. I have it on good authority. If you don't find a space, that means that someone else is praying the prayer better and harder than you and found the spot.

    MadPriest is on holiday, as they say in his country. He shut down his comments.

    Dennis and other contributors have set up a temporary gathering spot for the low-lifes who usually hang out at Of Course, I Could Be Wrong. It's called Of Course, I Could Be On Vacation. You might want to check it out.

  6. By all means, come visit Of Course I Could Be On Vacation.

    And Grandmere Mimi is right: It should have been called "Of course I could be on holiday..."

    Too late now....

  7. ((((you))))

    I'm watching your city, too.

  8. Beautifully written; thank you for posting it in public.

  9. Ankhorite, thank you for your kind words. This is my favorite post of all that I've done.

    The picture resonated in ways that I can't even put into words. This was the best I could do.


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