This section chapter is intended as a forward to the story—rather than an actual part of the story itself. Feel free to skip it.
Disclaimer: While I fancy myself a skilled writer and storyteller, I must confess I know precisely dick about New Orleans. I live in California, and I've never even passed through that part of the country on a train before, so I won't pretend my portrayal of the city is accurate.
This story was originally set in a fictional city in a post-apocalyptic future, but in the course of writing it I decided to merge it with another idea I was working on—that of a post-Katrina New Orleans whose population was beginning to develop mutant powers because of their parents' exposure to chemicals in the floodwaters.
So first I'd like to apologize to the residents of New Orleans for taking creative liberties with their town, and second I'd like to ask my readers to leave their preconceived notions at the door. What follows may be an even less accurate picture of the Big Easy than a tourist's blathering, but it's still a damn good story
Finally, I've noticed that certain symbols and letter combinations—most notably web and e-mail addresses—won't display on this site. Because of this, I've had to spell out the email and web addresses in this version of the story, and change the layout a bit. It doesn't look quite as good as I intended, but it's better than having blank spaces where a word or symbol didn't print.
New Orleans, 2046.
It's been a generation since Hurricane Katrina demolished the Big Easy, but while much has changed on the surface, very little about the city of New Orleans has really changed at all.
The old city lies in ruins under the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, but rather than try to pump the water out and wait for the next hurricane, the city of New Orleans was rebuilt—some might say reborn—on the banks of the lake that now covers the old city.
The locals refer to the new city as " New Orleans", and most act as though nothing ever happened. The flooded ruins of the old city are kept out of sight and out of mind by the floodwaters, and the basin where New Orleans once stood is now just a portion of Lake Pontchartrain, as far as anyone is concerned.
The disaster has left an enduring legacy however:
Residents caught in the floodwaters were exposed to a soup of toxins and chemicals swept out of every building from backyard meth labs to genetic research facilities. Now the first generation born from exposed parents has reached adulthood, and results of that exposure are beginning to show through.
As a rule, the mutations are subtle—most people don't even realize they have them, believing they are simply lucky or charmed in some way. A few people, however, are aware of their abilities and work to hone them to perfection.
Regardless of the existence of mutant powers, the main concern for people living in New Orleans is the tangled web of intrigue and mystery that has always surrounded the place. Crime syndicates, corruption, murder plots, voodoo cults, and just about anything else you can imagine goes on under the city's carefree Mardi-Gras mask, and anyone living there is liable to get themselves into it neck deep just as easy as stepping out their front door...