Sunday, August 26, 2007

K+2

The anniversary retrospectives have begun again, essentially unavoidable this week. I gotta tell you, it’s exhausting.

I was scanning Saturday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune, when I spotted the shorthand expression that is my post title today. And you know what? It really disturbs me...

K+2.

Two years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the levees broke, flooding 80% of New Orleans. Two years since so much of the Gulf South was devastated.

It is impossible to express some things in any terms other than “post-Katrina” - population centers, insurance rates, property values, etc.

But everything? I think what disturbs me most is this dangerous new identity. In years past, we hated how New Orleans was known to too many folks only for Bourbon Street, Girls Gone Wild and Mardi Gras. Anyone who’s ever visited this city for more than a day understands implicitly that it’s so much more than that.

And now? New Orleans has been shoehorned into this newer identity of ultimate victimhood. “How does it make you feel that the government is dragging its feet with recovery funding?” Umm, how do you think we feel? “Do you think the high murder rate will adversely affect the flow of tourists to New Orleans?” Do you really need me to answer that?

Oh...and please don’t ask if things are getting back to normal, because they never were to begin with.

Yes, as a city in recovery (sounds a bit like AA, eh?), we are not where we expected to be two years after this disaster of Republican proportions. Entire neighborhoods still lie in ruins. Our mental health services are non-existent. The levees still aren’t strong enough to hold back a surge of similar power. And, yes...the people here are getting more brittle and less likely to keep up the brave face.

But.

There’s so much good happening here that will continue to go unreported by the media giants. So, I guess you’ll have to look for it here.

Not only has our church rebuilt its roof and sanctuary, we are less than six months away from opening a free medical clinic in a neighborhood where such services don’t exist.

How does a creative city respond to trauma of this nature? With laughter and tears and great parties. Jazz Fest saw record number in attendance and the local theatre community is burgeoning with new shows - not all of which are acts of catharsis. (To misquote Stephen King, gallows humor is only funny when its your neck.) The Louisiana Philharmonic and New Orleans Opera Company are playing to standing room only crowds.

Oh, and the predicted conflict and strife that city leaders anticipated in “accommodating” the influx of Latin American workers (and their families - many of whom are choosing to stay here and settle down) never materialized.

It’s not perfect. It never was before. Stop comparing years and dates and what’s back and what isn’t. We’re here and we’re working as much and as hard as we can, and some days, it really really hurts. I mean bad.

But. That’s only some days. Most days, just like anywhere else in the rest of the world, we wake up, we work, we love, we eat, we fight, we talk, we worry, we build, we wonder, we teach, we grow, we die, we hope, we leave, we blog, we pray, we put our heads back down on our pillows and drift off to sleep...only to wake up and do it all over again.

Just like everyone else.

Everyone else who isn’t measuring everything in terms of when their world came to an end.

And yet, somehow the world kept turning. And it's still turning. And so tomorrow, we will wake up and start all over again.

Again.

10 comment(s):

soccer mom in denial

I really don't know how to reply. I'm mad as hell and incredibly proud of what NOLA is doing. And I love you.

Jodi

lovely post, and lovely picture.

And while I laughed out loud when I read this sentance "disaster of Republican proportions," it's too sad that it's true.

Flower Child

Great post. and thank SMID for her shopping tips - they're awesome! Please post more!

Jami

"disaster of Republican proportions" is now officially part of my way of speaking. So funny/sad/true!

I can't tell all y'all how proud I am of everyone in N'awlins! Like everyone who loves that city, I want her to be there forever because this country needs her.

CableGirl

Thank you for this post.


SMID, thank you for directing my attention here.

Ambassador

SMID--thanks for the push today, and for all the support. More shopping links to follow yours this week!

Jodi--We laugh because it's true and if we don't laugh...

FC--Thanks for dropping in! I have a bunch of suggestions to post later this week for coll local artists to support! Let the shopping begin!

Jami--Come on down! Glad you (and Jodi) liked the "disaster" line - we all get John Stewart moments every now and then!

Jen

Fabulous post and I'm glad SMID pointed me this way. I'll be back and back and back. And thanks.

Our media just FEEDS on the negative. Just like anywhere else. ;-)

Jenn in Holland

this disaster of Republican proportions
had me laughing out loud too!
But this paragraph:Most days, just like anywhere else in the rest of the world, we wake up, we work, we love, we eat, we fight, we talk, we worry, we build, we wonder, we teach, we grow, we die, we hope, we leave, we blog, we pray, we put our heads back down on our pillows and drift off to sleep...only to wake up and do it all over again. got me misty eyed.
Then, when I saw the photo, I lost it.
Wow. Again. As always. Wow.

Goofball

We get only gloomy messages about the rebuilding and recovery of New Orleans in our Belgian press

...If you know a good online translator:
http://www2.vrtnieuws.net/cm/vrtnieuws.net/nieuws/buitenland/070829_Katrina

I am glad I can read your blog too, to get more balanced views! New Orleans is a city I want to come and visit one day for sure!

aimee / greeblemonkey

I have been watching for new posts from you, and here are a bunch. Wonderful - and lovely photo!

  © Blogger template 'Minimalist E' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP