I swear, you go out of town for a week, and they’ve added something else to the ever-expanding empire of the World War II museum downtown. After a day spent dodging rain, writing emails, and looking work in the face, I hopped on my bike and headed Uptown to meet A., C., and L. for dinner at the Ethipian place. On a similar ride last month I noticed the new “preservation pavillion” added to the complex–a big glass box of a building where some kind of ship or somesuch is being rehabbed. Today I noticed folks moving things into the Soda Shop, another nostalgic addition. I wonder if the audience for this museum will persist, if the nostalgia can be inherited on down the line, or if we’ll have a giant museum to remember our war in Iraq, a special building just for the Navy Seals who took down Osama bin Laden, a retro coffee shoppe serving Grande Light Mocha Frappucinnos. This museum is a huge tourist draw aside from just being an exercise in collective memory, which means there’s the money and the will to build, build, build. I wish we could extend that will to the neighborhoods of New Orleans, an exercise in collective memories of Fazendeville or the 7th Ward or West Baltimore. But those aren’t memories, they’re living communities, but I wish we could have the will to build there too. I continued my ride Uptown, then back downtown throught the Bywater, and home again. It’s good to be home.