Friday, January 16, 2009

Hit It Hard!

I just returned from a two-day conference in New Orleans. While in the Big Easy a friend and I visited a local landmark, Café Du Monde, for their famous café au lait and beignets. It was a little disappointing. Besides the chicory (only Cajuns would think of putting daisies in coffee!), the coffee was so hot it scalded my tongue. The beignets (BEN-yays)—fried dough with powdered sugar—were not my favorite.  They tasted like, well, fried dough with powdered sugar. (At another meal, this one in the Gumbo Shop, I had a hot bread pudding with whiskey sauce, which was to die for.) My friend and I strolled around Jackson Park past St. Louis Cathedral and were hailed by fortunetellers hawking their services. (No thanks.) We even walked down part of Bourbon Street on our way back to the hotel Maison Dupuy.  Every sin imaginable is for sale on Bourbon Street.

What kept coming to mind while I was in New Orleans was a story about young Abraham  Lincoln's business trip to the city on a flatboat full of produce. In the market he witnessed a slave auction in which people were bought and sold like the goods he had come to sell on behalf of his employer. Husbands were separated from wives, parents from children, and brothers from sisters. Lincoln was so disgusted by what he saw he is reported to have said to a friend, “If ever I get a chance to hit that thing, I will hit it hard!”

I wonder what injustices in our society today are shocking the consciences future Lincolns.

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