PERRICONE: The Reaper And The City

On a foggy night, the reaper plays an elegy for New Orleans. For 300 years, the Crescent City has seen death in all forms, and an epidemic is not unfamiliar. But how this one washed up on the banks of the Mississippi River is different.

This isn’t the 18th, 19th or 20th Century. It’s 2020 and we in the bend of the river are still vulnerable to thinks we can see and can’t see. Nothing has changed, other than electricity and the internet. And the reaper plays on, for his music has no end. The notes and bars seem to have no crescendo or finality. The little dots just play on.

New Orleans has seen it share of grief, in fact no city greets death as a neighbor as much as New Orleans. Their zip codes are the same. But since the old city has existed, it has allowed so many to walk her streets and alleys. Many come and many leave, but they always leave something behind. The reaper knows this and plays on.

This year, New Orleans allowed many in to watch the Sugar Bowl, the BSC Bowl and the dumbest thing this New Orleanian has ever seen, ten days of debauchery and faux royalty called Mardi Gras. Millions,from all over, attend this festival of incontinence of all kinds, just to assume identities they wish they had or held. The reaper loves them, for he knows his sax plays on while they will be convulsing in some lonely bed, not knowing what hit them or why.


Crowds with money to burn on cheap liquor and women of lesser distilleries, imbibe, eat, nosh on trinkets of flesh and plastic know that the music they hear might be their last chords of life. Squeezed shoulder to shoulder for hours and hours, breathing the same fumes of life will soon lead some to breath forced oxygen in their lungs, and for what? The Reaper doesn’t care, for his gig is guaranteed.

So the sax echoes through the narrow streets of now empty bars and flesh pits. A strong spring wind blows portions of today’s news paper down a lonely street. The Reaper pauses and stomps on a pager to read. He grimy fingers picks up the pages and looks under the amber glow of the street light. He smiles and then howls with laughter, as he counts eight pages of obituaries, where a normal day yield only two. He drops the pages into the street and allows the wind to carry it into to the abyss. Then he goes back to work, for the Reaper and his sax must play on.



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