- Oct 10, 2009
Port-au-Prince bustled. The garden-filled capital city of 3 million was flocked with hills, covered in chalk-white buildings, home to palaces and slums. Tap Taps, the colorful shared taxis, ported citizens through the city, the onomatopoetic name referring to the custom of tapping coins on the side of the cab to stop it. Tourists walked through the Champ de Mars. Tiny fishing vessels filled the bay, cruise ships looming further out. For the first time in decades, Haiti was peaceful and growing, President Réné Préval well-liked internationally and at home, the economy expanding while nearly every other in the Caribbean contracted.
The day before yesterday, a high-magnitude earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince. Here is a remembrance of the city -- founded 260 years ago -- in the words of famed residents and visitors, including Langston Hughes, Edwidge Danticat, and former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
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