The book new Atlantis by John Swenson gives a narration of how music contributes to the restoration of New Orleans city aftermath of the storm. The story is narrated as only thoroughly familiar with the cultures and under cultures of New Orleans. The book inspires the readers hence making people change their attitude towards New Orleans city and its citizens. It is well known that music heals people’s emotions at their most intimate level and unites people at its most public level. The central question in the book New Atlantis is whether music can rebuild the city. John Swenson’s beautifully account music art is used to save beautiful American troubled metropolis.
New Orleans city has faced extinction threats from oil spills, fire, crime and flood. Great musicians like Dr. John, Big chief monk and Neville brothers are fighting against the tidal wave of problems (Swenson, 2012). Even though they are working for small money, they do not care but they are ready to fight the tidal wave of problems. These tidal wave problems include depletion of wet lands at a fast rate, waning of tourists, increased murder rate and the destruction by Hurricane Katrina. Neighbors who natured New Orleans music have been destroyed in the flood and the elder people have died. Profiled musicians have stepped up to fill the role of these victims.
Every person who visited New Orleans city came out saying that there is something about the city. Some people suggested that there was something good while others argued that there were horrific things from the city. All groups agreed that there was something in the air, water and in the stones of the street whether horrific or good. That something runs on the music that infuses the bars, tourist gift shops and high sensualist restaurants (Swenson, 2012). In the background, it lingers with faint aroma of overflowing garbage cans at cafés. People counter balances their bitter coffee with sweet beignets before starting the day or going to bed. Everything is there going along with spooky voodoo stories and the crypts in the mausoleums. All this underlies with the music and it is always the music. People wondered whether the music would be lost forever when Rita and Katrina hit the city. Even after the government neglected to help after the blow of the natural calamity, the music remained. This could not have happened it were not for continued spirit of the creators of music. The musicians drifted back to rebuild a lifestyle that people thought was completely lost. The music tells the story of a horrible loss and heartbreak that occurred in the city. The music narrates that the love is still rebuilding the city.
In John Swenson’s view, there is a direct correlation as New Orleans is being rebuilt after destruction from the hurricane. The musicians who call this wonderful city home maintain this correlation. Few will argue with this thesis as the fight for survival continues (Swenson, 2012). Swenson who has been a resident for a long time provides enlightening moments and sometimes-alarming situations. He gives interviews of the most outspoken people who are ready to save the city that was washed away. Dr John gives his activism of trying to save the wetlands even before Katrina hit the city. Some people talk about their time in refugee and the devastating moments they encountered in the camps.
Most part of the book is spent on Andrews’s family especially Troy who emphasizes on the importance of daily music and the effect it has had on younger generation of musicians. Swenson deals with violent situations and turf wars as one of the repercussions of people loosing their habitants. He also tells the heart felt stories of the irreplaceable memorabilia that was destroyed. Commercialization of jazz music is also included even though people have diverted to tourism for rebuilding New Orleans city.
The book is encyclopedic and gives deeply personal catalog of local New Orleans musicians that fight to rebuild the city. Some names like Dr John, Neville family and Harry Connick are readily associated with New Orleans. This book educate readers n the struggles to save New Orleans culture after Katrina. The author has done a great Job of reviling hear and souls of the magical musicians. The portrayal of the city that lost too much and it ready to give more captures the resiliency of its habitants and their determination of never to give up. Swenson is intimate and passionate since he is concerned with the future of music culture. It is well known that music heals people’s emotions at their most intimate level and unites people at its most public level. The central question in the book New Atlantis is whether music can rebuild the city. Every person who visited New Orleans city came out saying that there is something about the city. Some people suggested that there was something good while others argued that there were horrific things from the city.
Swenson, J. (2012). New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans. New york: Oxford University Press.