The Diaspora: A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge
Since we started flipping ahead in the book last class (oh was that just me?), I’ve been looking forward to the last chapter of Josh Neufeild’s A.D. Here is where we see the most shocking use of color, at least in my opinion. The chapter is called “The Diaspora” a term I remember mostly from Holocaust studies. I looked up the term on Merriam Webster’s website and saw the following:
So “The Diaspora” is talking about the scattering of people from their because of Hurricane Katrina. In this section, we see a lot of contrast between the background colors and the colors of our characters. We learned in class that these colors are the colors associated commonly with the New Orleans tradition of mardi gras. Why the contrast, though? Why are the characters in particular so contrasted?
The contrast highlights the out of place nature of the people. They are all, through the text, explaining their discomfort and feeling of loss. The color, too highlights this displacement. During the storm, the hadn’t yet lost their home; as it was happening, they couldn’t comprehend the full effect and the diaspora that would follow.
Why does this contrast get sharper when they return in the next section, then? They still are expressing a feeling of displacement even though they were home. New Orleans is not the same place as it was before Katrina. Their home, although they still recognize it as such, is not what they remember or wish they could have back.
Though the colors were shocking in this section and even a little disturbing, I think this was one of the most powerful uses of color. This is not only because it’s the most noticeable one, but rather because it so effectively highlights the pathos of the piece, more so than any other section of the book. The true impact of Katrina for these people (who all got out relatively unscathed) is in the separation from their home. Their surroundings are no longer familiar or comfortable, but they are still working, hopefully to restore.