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Katrina Series: July 2006

Yes, it’s been a long strange trip, but the journey is only beginning. Some days, it’s good, and some days not so good. The situation in New Orleans has faded as old news on a lot of fronts, but here we are bombarded 24/7 with all the crap that surrounds us. It seems that everyone here is suffering from PTS syndrome. That is understandable in our situation, but it does not make it better. There are many times that I stop and have to remind myself that things will get better.
To answer the question, my response is this: New Orleans is like a friend, relative, or lover who is critically ill in the ICU of the hospital. Everyone is gathered in the waiting room waiting, and waiting. Hours pass and no one comes to tell you how the patient is. You just have to keep waiting for that one doctor or specialist to interrupt the anxiety and tension and tell you of a course of action that they will take to make the patient better.

That is our situation en mass. We keep waiting for someone to come forward with a plan that will help this crippled city off of her knees. All sorts of plans are bandied about but nothing gets put into action. Large areas of the city look the same as when the floods receded. Looted stores sit empty. Large piles of debris mount on the streets. 30,000 abandoned cars are still sitting and waiting to be disposed of. FEMA trailers sit empty while requests for them are still at a staggering height. Everyone is going to spend the next 3 1/2 months with one eye on the Gulf in anticipation of the next storm. It’s not an easy way to live —full of anxiety. Brenda and I have “upgraded” our evacuation plans and have even talked about where we will go when the next one hits. This city can not survive another blow right now and that is frightening.

We were very fortunate to be on the “right side” of the disaster. We did not flood. My heart aches for those who lost everything. I really want to help make New Orleans a city to be proud of. We have been told that this will be the land of opportunity, that we have the chance to start fresh and new. But right now those statements only scream of political rhetoric. It will be a great day when plans are put into place and progress is made. Now we only have small victories—the zoo, aquarium and art museum have re-opened. Restaurants are slowly coming back. Mardi Gras and Jazzfest were amazingly successful. The Saints will have their first game in the Dome on Monday Night Football on Sept 25th . Tim McGraw and Faith Hill played Thursday night to a capacity crowd for the first show in the Arena. All of these things would have gone without fanfare before, but now they are touchstones.

I don’t mean to be a downer, but I thought that y’all might appreciate some thoughts from inside. We have to look at the glass as half full, but somedays someone spills the glass and you have to wait to get more….