Seeing the Fireworks from the South Main Arts District

Getting anywhere in downtown Memphis on July 4th was nearly impossible (we later found out it was due to a string of shootings that had started at Tom Lee Park where people had gathered to watch the fireworks). I had to drive down Danny Thomas all the way to G. E. Patterson and park down by the civil rights museum. As I was walking back up South Main toward Beale, I saw the last of the fireworks being shot off from Mud Island.

While fireworks are generally a part of July 4 celebrations across America, New Orleans seems a uniquely-appropriate place to celebrate our great country. It is a city, founded by French explorers near a Native American village, later run by the Spanish and then the Americans, to which came Africans, Jews, the Irish, Italians, Haitians, Mexicans and Vietnamese. All of these diverse cultures have left their mark on New Orleans, making it paradoxically America’s most exotic city and at the same time the most American city of all. In New Orleans this year, the fireworks were preceded by a Navy band concert, and followed by the same All-Star Brass Band that had been playing on Bourbon Street earlier in the evening.