New visitors to the chronicles from the future may first wish to visit the past, by reading the earlier hologramletters. (see the older listings on the right, go to the bottom and click the link to the earlier hologramletters)
NOTE The following is an adaptation from the soon to be released book ‘Letters From 2030’. To register interest on its release, or to order a copy email Bob Williamson via this link.
As he looked at the monitor, an unfamiliar face flickered, wavered and then came through. The man had seen better days, he thought, as the face in the hologramletter smiled at him with a toothless grin.
January 10, 2030
It ain’t cooled much yet at the beginnin’ of winter in New Orleans – not that it ever cools much these days – so you should call in sick as soon’s you can and head down here for the fishin’! Now that the gov’ment gave up pumpin’ the water from the city after all the hurricanes and floods, this place is turnin’ into a true “Sportsman’s Paradise.” (Remember the old Louisiana license plates – ROFL!!!!)
I meet this dude named Boudreaux Martinez – he say’s he’s from Zwolle – and he keeps talkin’ up the fishin’ down in the old Crescent City. At first I ain’t inter’sted, but he apparently talks me into it ’cause one Monday mornin’ after an all-weekend drunk I wake up in the cab of his pickup truck and he’s haulin’ ass with his bass boat down I-10 to New Orleans. My killer hangover is makin’ it a rough ride for awhile, but we stop in Gonzales for a couple post-sunrise Dixies and I feel much better.
A little after eight we pull into the city, pickin’ our way ’round the new ponds that block the highway here and there. We have a hell of a time gettin’ to the French Quarter where Boudreaux wants to put in. He’s lookin’ for beignets and chicory coffee at Café du Monde. I thought we was goin’ to drive or walk to it. Instead, Boudreaux wants to drive his boat to the dock the café built since the city flooded.
I say, “Damn, Boudreaux, where you gonna find a boat ramp in the Quarter?” Boudreaux says, “No problem. Wait ’n’ see.
”Sure ’nough, findin’ a boat ramp is easy. Every street is a boat ramp!!!! It can be hell findin’ parkin’, though – you ever try parallel parkin’ with a boat trailer?
Anyway, we find a nice spot on St. Roch Street, put his boat in, and tie off on a telephone pole. Once we load up with the essentials – Vienna sausages, beef jerky, beer, and fishin’ gear – and make a stop at the Café du Monde we head off to what used to be the Lower Ninth Ward.
Man, you can’t imagine how good the fishin’ is here! You don’t need no fish-finder – just drop a lure near the old houses or sunken cars, and you got it made, man!
You gotta be careful, though. The water’s so murky you can’t see all the obstacles. We foul the prop on an old chicken-wire fence that’s a few inches below the surface. Shear the damn cotter pen and almost lose the prop. The current pushes us into some rusty ole school bus before we get Boudreax’s Merc out of the water and the pin replaced.
We was so focused on the outboard that we don’t notice we’d punched through the side of the bus. I have to push off with each foot on one of the seats. I’m a bit drunk again – hell, it’s 10:30 in the mornin’ man! – and not payin’ ’nough attention to what I am doin’. Boudreaux’s boat breaks free and I fall into the open door of a sunken Porta John®. Boudreaux laughs so much he has a coughin’ fit and damn near chokes. When he gets some breath, he wheezes, “It don’ matta, You and de watta smell ’bout de same now.” He starts cussin’ me a blue streak, though, when I almost flip the boat tryin’ to get back in.
We go back to fishin’ and hook six or seven big striped bass by the time noon rolls ’round. Of course some of them are big because of these growths on their bodies, but since we ain’t plannin’ on eatin’ sushi, we figure a good cookin’ll take care of the stuff in ’em that causes the growths to begin with.
By the end of the day, though, Boudreaux and I am pretty damn drunk – again. He gets lost lookin’ for his truck – keeps cruisin’ up and down St. Claude Street instead of turnin’ on St. Roch. I ain’t much help, though, as I am busy playin’ with the bass floatin’ belly up in the fish well. (I set the water on fire when I throw a cigarette butt in there!) As the sun goes down, though, Boudreaux remembers the car alarm thing on his key chain and we follow the sound to where we put in.
I’m thinkin’ ’bout headin’ back next weekend. Wanna come?
Curious old timer, he thought. When was it they gave up on New Orleans and the environmental refugees left the city forever? Was it in 2022 after hurricane Wendy -- the 23rd hurricane of the season? It had to come. The storm intensities and surges couldn’t be contained. Big cities along the Gulf Coast -- Galveston, Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola -- were now almost ghost towns, waterlogged landscapes changed forever, just as the streets below his building were awash with foul-smelling slime and toxic chemicals.