FEMA Anno Nuevo

Jan 3, 2006 by

A new year. Its about time. The consensus is that everyone is glad to be shut of 2005, a year whose final quarter was marked by devastation here in the Crescent City.

I had originally planned to spend New Year’s Eve at One Eyed Jacks in the French Quarter, but when the time came we decided to spend it at our old house in Broadmoor. We had moved out two weeks before Katrina, and a lucky thing too because the apartment took a good six feet of water. The first floor was nothing but exterior walls and support beams. Upstairs at my friend Dudley’s things were pretty much untouched.

We sat on the porch overlooking S. Claiborne Ave, an island of light in the midst of no man’s land. Since the restoration of power Dud had filled the yard with christmas lights, a strident protestation of life amidst the depopulated darkness. Other than the street lights on Claiborne we were the only sign of habitation for tens of blocks. If it were not for the buildings and wreckage surrounding us we might as well have been out in the bayou.

To add to the eerie atmosphere, a fog thicker than any I have ever seen in New Orleans filled the streets, giving the surrounding neighborhood the feeling of a post apocalyptic horror movie. At times I wasn’t sure whether we were fighting back the darkness or waiting for the zombies to arrive (nod to George Romero). My fiancee commented that the city looked flooded again, only this time with fog instead of water, a parrallel that stuck with me continually over the evening.

It was an evening that illustrated in microcosm my view of the city in general in these Post K days. An outpost of civilization, stubbornly continuing on is spite of the lack of resources. A group who refuse outright to allow themselves to be driven off. An island of light sitting in the crossroads, waiting for Legba to arrive.

2006 is the crossroads. This is the year to defend our culture as well as an opportunity to fix the societal problems that are our long time legacy. Welcome to a new dawn, a new age of possibilities. Let’s not screw this up.

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