Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Are Not Katrina, part I

It's still on the news here every single day.


It is the news here.

I counted yesterday, and during the local evening broadcast, the name Katrina was uttered 27 times in half an hour.

Head to Phoenix or Portland or Poughkeepsie or Portsmouth or Provincetown or Palm Beach or Pittsburgh or PEI and it'll be days, weeks before there's a singe reference.

I look out my office window on the 23rd floor and cannot count all the roofs still swaddled in their blue tarp bandages.

It's not the roofs' faults. They'd really rather not be blue.

I can go entire days without thinking about The Disaster of Republican Proportion. That is, if I don't turn on the radio, watch TV, read my own blog, write my own blog, talk to anyone whom I haven't seen since The Event, read a newspaper, surf the internet, or just look around me. Or get out of bed.

I can do it.

And. Oh. It. Feels. Great.


There is still so much to do. So many stories to tell. So many things to fix and wrongs to right. I actually feel guilty - well, I feel guilty for not having suffered as much as my friends anyway - but I especially feel guilty when I have a whole day in which I didn't get disgusted by the politicians lining their pockets with recovery dollars... which I didn't mourn the loss of another friend who's taking flight from this city... which I didn't yell at the TV as the oh-so-sincere-yet-overly-rehearsed-reporter yet again refers to something as the First/Biggest/100th/Worst/Most Expensive since You-Know-What.

It's not that I shrink from the word Katrina or that hearing it gives me ulcers.

We've just said it too much. And it's fighting to take over our collective identity.

I don't think so.

And if there's one thing that the people of New Orleans and the whole Gulf South are not, it's this:

We are not Katrina.

Sometimes, we cannot look directly at it all. Some days, we cannot look away.

Yes, we will tell the stories and live with the aftermath for the rest of our lives. We will have strong emotions tied to this part of our lives and stuggle to make sense of our random, passionate reactions to stupid, insensitive questions.

But here's the rub. Get to know us again.

I dare you.

Find out what the Real Deal in New Olreans really is.

I double dog dare you.

9 comment(s):


Hi. I traveled to NO many times pre-Katrina for work conferences and cannot wait to go back.

Nice blog.

painted maypole

excellent post!

soccer mom in denial

I know NOLA. I wish more folks did.

Jen of A2eatwrite

Excellent post! It reminds me of when cancer survivors say "I'm NOT cancer" - and they're not. It's not what it's about unless you make it so. We've actually been looking for an excuse to get down there. We don't travel much these days, though.


Show us who New Orleans is then in this blog. I am interested to read and to learn! I didn't know New Orleans in the past and I still don't know it. So I am curious.

cathouse teri

Good point. I live in California, and I probably hear somewhere (TV, conversation, etc.) reference to Katrina.

I'm sure that in New York City, some spots are tired of being referred to as Ground Zero. We are disaster-minded creatures.

Just the common response was when I would tell people about the pending birth of my first grandchild three years ago. They would say, "Oh I hope she's not born on 9/11!" Why not?

Well she was. It's always important to have new life.

cathouse teri

HAha... sorry... That first sentence should have finished with "about once a month." :)


I hope to make it down to New Orleans someday. I don't get much time/money to travel, but it's just one of those truly wonderful and unique places in America that I want to visit before I die. Wonderful post!

Jenn in Holland

NOLA is high on my list of the places in the world I want to visit. It has always been. And is especially so now, since knowing you. But it's more than just that, it's also like you admonish here, upon reading the bits about the city you have shared with us, I really want to KNOW the place. And love it the way you do.

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