North Claiborne Street, Ninth Ward, New Orleans

Erren Geraud Kelly

Ninth Ward
Photo Credit: Stephen Marchetti

A wreath hangs on an oak tree
Not far from North Claiborne Street
Two white boys take pictures
As I drink water
An old black man
Shows me a picture
Of his house
After the levees broke
No matter what, he’s staying
“Take all the pictures you want”
Another man says
“Then go down by u.n.o.
And see how them white folks
Were affected
See how much different
They live from us”

I see the houses
Thrown beside each other
On top of each other
Like lovers

I smell death

“X” marks houses
Where police and National Guard
claim they’ve checked for survivors

And yet people
Come home to
Find dead bodies

I want to help New Orleans
Rise from its ashes
I tell the man “don’t worry
People will see them”

“Don’t let the rest of the world
Forget about us…”


Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in Burlington, Vermont, by way of Chicago, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California, by way of New York City and so on. He has been writing for 25 years and has over 100 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. His most recent publication was in In Our Own Words, a Generation X poetry anthology; he was also published in Fertile Ground, Beyond The Frontier and other anthologies. His work can also been seen on YouTube under the “Gallery Cabaret” links. He is also the author of the chapbook Disturbing The Peace on Night Ballet Press. He received his B.A. in English–Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He also loves to read and to travel, having visited 45 states and Canada and Europe. The themes in his writings vary, but he has always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. But he never limits himself to anything, he always tries to keep an open mind. Email: errenkelly76[at]

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