Evelyn McDonnell is The Miami Herald's pop music critic.
From a May 07, 2006 commentary:
I don't believe in gods, spirits, ghosts, or other worlds. But something touched me last weekend in New Orleans.
I was moved by something that defies journalistic explanation on my return to this spirited and spiritual city, where corpses recently floated down the main streets, it's perennially too wet to bury bodies underground, and voodoo priests claim to channel the underworld.
I was staying at a guesthouse that was once one of the many orphanages built in the 19th century; in this swamp town, disease left children parentless. A lot of souls have passed through this port city and erstwhile slave-trading post, have been forever captured in those second-line songs. Lying in that ancient refuge, this atheist thought she heard their voices.
OK, maybe it was just my spicy jambalaya dinner talking. I'm not saying I found God: If there were a divine intelligence, She would have smote the drunkards' hell that is Bourbon Street and left Fats Domino's sweet little Ninth Ward houses alone.