Morning Thoughts

Nov 20, 2005 by

I wake up and pour some high octane coffee down my throat. As I check my email and newsgroups I see more of the same old stuff: FEMA inadequacy, insupportable corruption on the local/state/federal level, and a few more businesses opening here in N.O. I almost feel as though I’m reading a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Reality here has been replaced with surreality. To quote the Cheshire Cat in Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, “We’re all mad here.” Everyone that is here in the city has been infected by the strange mental unease that comes with living in the wake of Katrina. Many people are living in homes that are without power and/or partially devastated, many more are putting up friends and family who are suddenly jobless and homeless. All are slightly dazed and confused. It is like nothing I have ever encountered.

Uptown is an island in the midst of a sea of chaos. It is truly bizarre to think that mountains of refuse, empty streetcar tracks, and all the other details of Post-K life are not only the “new normality,” but also vastly better than neighborhoods only a few blocks or miles away. A few blocks on the other side of St Charles Avenue it goes completely dark. No power, streetlights, or anything. Yet I know people living there, camping out in their homes using generators for heat and refridgeration (if they have a working fridge which is rare). A few minutes away lies the total devastation of Lakeview and the Lower 9. A trip into those areas is a disturbing and frightening thing.

Things around us slowly ressucitate, every day new businesses open (now it’s only an average of four blocks between open businesses! For an accurate listing of local places that are now open go to ) The Crescent City has become the new frontier. Feeling alternately like an old west boomtown, and a semi-inhabited ruin New Orleans must surely win the Strangest City in the US title!

With only one notable exception everyone I know is being positive and is geared up for the new era. While trauma of varying degrees threatens one’s mental stability we all are coping. The trivialities of Pre-K have been set aside as everyone tries to find their feet in the new New Orleans. The population that is here consists of those who are determined not to let the city die, no matter how hard the governmental structures try to kill us with incompetence and neglect. There is a commeraderie I have never seen before amongst those of us that are back, and there are more arriving every day. It is my fondest hope that this feeling continues as long as possible.

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