Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NOMA in the WSJ


an article in a recent issue of the Wall Street Jounal by Tom Freudenheim
is a pleasant read about the New Orleans Museum of Art , including its history and its surviving
Hurricane Katrina. An excerpt:

Disasters can tear people apart or bring them together. The initial shock of confronting today's New Orleans is not just about numbers -- deaths, homes destroyed, displaced lives -- but about the fact that two years after America's worst natural disaster people are still trying to pick themselves up and rebuild not just their physical surroundings but their still-fragile psyches. Disasters also remind people of essentials: what really matters in their lives. The New Orleans Museum of Art might well serve as an inspiration for those of our museums that have grown fat and self-satisfied, forgetting their missions of protecting the public patrimony and providing education, pleasure and even diversion for their visitors

These museum stalwarts soldier on because they understand that the art museum can bring added value to the injured lives of New Orleanians -- wound-salving that may be more critical for locals than for tourists. The traditional French Quarter, with its honky-tonk attractions, looks intact but feels sadly underpopulated. Reservations at the best restaurants are now easily available, so a convention visitor might even wonder what all the fuss about Katrina was about. The ability of a semitropical climate to make everything look lush and green is too happy a mask for what is actually a series of endless tragedies (optimists speak of "opportunities"). Even what's left of the Lower Ninth Ward is largely hidden by acres of profuse green weeds. The ghoulish may find that picturesque; those of us who are day-trippers end up feeling guilty about our obvious voyeurism.

Here's a link to the whole article.

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