While I believe that everything is ripe for artistic interpretation, there are some things that fall distinctly outside the realm of beauty in my mind, including sewage. I don’t think this is an unpopular opinion. Chances are good that “Sewage of the City” does not grace any tourist’s list of New Orleans’ best features—especially not in the summertime.
But the only thing that you can take for granted is that your assumptions about the world will be consistently overturned. I was walking to work at about 6:30 in the morning when I happened to stumble upon this puddle of water, oil and generic garbage juice soaking on the street:
And, looking past the dirt and sludge and swirls of grime, it was one of the most beautiful things I’d seen in a long while. The small, dark pools of oil on the water’s surface mimic the clouds reflected in the puddle were oddly mesmerizing. I was especially struck by the contrast between the dark, orange, wet grit of the sidewalk and the cool, slick, silvery-blue mirror on the road. I think that duality of grace and grotesqueness the key to the heart of New Orleans; you can’t deny the city’s bawdy debauchery, brashness, or violent tension, but you would be hard-pressed to deny its simultaneous beauty and vibrance.
At least that’s what I tell myself as I trek through puddles of garbage juice. You have to stay positive somehow.