NORRIS: There is still a shortage of hope in the city of New Orleans despite the big Superdome football win. For commentator Andrei Codrescu, mixing imagination with the unimaginable despair after Katrina seems like a logical way to cope.
(Soundbite of jazz)
ANDREI CODRESCU: Linnzi Zaorski, my favorite chanteuse, was bemoaning the dearth of performance opportunities at Post-K New Orleans and the fact that she was now on the other side of her mid-20s and she was broke.
Ms. LINNZI ZAORSKI (Singer)(Singing): My fur coat sold, oh Lord, ain't it cold, bottom knocked down the holler, got to steal, got a dollar and when I get broke - whoa - I get high.
CODRESCU: When she had refugiated herself to New York after the storm, she hadn't lacked for gigs. She worked every night, sometimes two clubs a night. She gave generously of her time when I asked her to introduce a reading I was giving at the Bowery Poetry club.
Among other things, she sang Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans, and she teared up singing it. And it was not long after that, I believe, that she decided to come back to New Orleans, beautiful move, her whole heart, but how to survive. I suggest that she star in a movie soon, because she looks just right a cross between an icy Hitchcock blonde in the silent movie era comedienne.
Ms. ZAORSKI (Singing): My man walked out, now you know that ain't right, but he better watch if I met him tonight, when I got low - whoa - I get high.
CODRESCU: I envisioned a Japanese setting for her to star in. I dreamed up this scenario. It's 1936 and the Emperor of Japan keeps hallucinating this American jazz singer. She appears to him every night dressed in different ‘20s and ‘30s styles and sings songs that keep the Emperor agitated and sleepless.
He travels incognito to America and one night in a New Orleans jazz club hears Linnzi and realizes that she's his hallucination. He kidnaps her and takes her to Japan, but she is accused of being a spy and arrested. In fact, she is a spy and is condemned to death by a military court.
After she is executed - sorry, Linnzi, that's the only bad part - she returns to haunt the Japanese royals and military class. They hear her singing every night. In order to stop the jazz madness that's underlying her morals and her posture, they bomb Pearl Harbor - or something like that. I'm no screenwriter, but I figure that an apocalyptic ending with a reference to history never hurt a movie.
Anyway, that plus lots of eventual complications, other flashbacks, flash forwards, flash upwards, flash across borders, should give Linnzi just the vehicle. Now we need a writer, director and producers. And I found a new pastime, imagining movies for my New Orleans friends. They need them.
(Soundbite of Linnzi Zarowski)
NORRIS: Music by Linnzi Zarowski, essay by Andrei Codrescu. Both live in New Orleans when they can.
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