K-Ville premiers on television tonight. Folks here in New Orleans have been looking forward to it for many weeks.
The K is for Katrina, of course.
But it could just as well be for kennel, which is what it must be like to live in one of those FEMA Travel Trailer cluster parks where people are stored for some future undetermined purpose.
Or it could be for keister, which is where many of us landed after getting thrown out of our homes, our schools and our jobs.
Some of us, feeling abandoned or shortchanged by our fellow Americans, may think K-ville comes from the kiss-off we believe we've been given. I don't think that's the case. To be certain, a few compassionate conservatives have told us to kiss-off, but so many more have been generous that I'd rather think of their example of kindness.
But perhaps K stands for Kingfish, as Louisiana's populist Governor Huey Long was called. His legacy of Robin Hood-style government casts its long shadow over us to this day. Or looking at more recently elected officials, it may be a nod to the kickbacks extracted by greedy politicians such as Oliver Thomas and Edwin Edwards. Scum of their ilk have helped cement our reputation as among the most politically corrupt places in America.
However, I'm sure a few of you will see that K and think instead of the junior senator and his alleged kinky habits. Or of the free display of knockers exposed by drunken, out-of-town women on Bourbon Street.
Please, spare us.
If you read the newspapers, you'll be convinced K-Ville gets its name from the daily killings here, a sad statement of the social breakdown in some segments of the population and of the kill-or-be-killed rules of the drug trade.
I’d like to think that K stands for karma, that mystical principle that says what comes around goes around. The idea that as you sow, so shall you so reap. I see my city struggle in so many ways, and I know that if we deal with each other fairly and honestly, we will all benefit. And I hope that those beyond New Orleans who help us will themselves be helped when they are in need. I don’t wish ill upon anyone, but I strongly wish to see mercy served to those who are merciful.
But sadly, that K is just Katrina, that miserable hurricane that ruined so many lives two years ago. It will be difficult to think or talk of New Orleans without linking us to Katrina for many, many years. The water has been all pumped out and stinky refrigerators are long gone, but the stain and stench of Katrina will remain for a generation.
Perhaps the day will come when we'll have to be reminded what the K in K-Ville stands for.
If we’re lucky.