I hate feeling so much distrust. I hate being so suspicious that I answer innocent questions with the same tone I'd use for insulting ones. I wish I could trust everybody with eyes, rhythm and taste buds to properly declare New Orleans one of the world's great cities. I wish the outpouring of support that has come from so many ordinary Americans had been matched by an aggressive governmental response so nobody here would have to beg for well built levees, wetlands protection, housing assistance and coastal restoration.
I wish I didn't take other people's dislike of my city so personally.
But I do, and I tell myself that if someone doesn't like New Orleans, that person must be educated. Things must be pointed out: the African drum, Congo Square, jazz, po-boys, Jazzfest, courtyards, second lines, buckjumping, masking, pralines, crawfish boils, live oaks, red beans and rice.
When I climb down from my pulpit, though, instead of a convert, I find a person who feels more pummeled by the sermon than uplifted by it.
So I've got to work on my delivery, got to work on my ambassadorial skills. The message, though, is still worth preaching: New Orleans must not be allowed to die.
Go out and spread the word.
The only problem is it's still hard to be "ambassadorial" while this crap is allowed to continue.