The Long Way Home

When we cam home on Friday we decided to take a little detour through New Orleans. Partly because Party Boy wanted to take the kids over the insane bridge over Lake Ponchatrain and partly because I had never been there and wanted to see it. Yes, even after Katrina.

I can sum it up in one word. Sad.

On the way we drove down the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, or what seems to be the forgotten casualty of Katrina. There’s very little wreckage there anymore, although there is a ton of beachfront property for sale. There was some re-building, but not much and many, many empty lots. Some completely devoid of anything but overgrown grass and old trees, some still sporting concrete slab foundations.

New Orleans. I was struck by the fact that you could tell that it at one time had been a beautiful city, charming, even. Now? Just a wasteland. Vast areas where nothing has happened. Houses still bearing the big X’s noting that they had been searched. Houses where walls and roofs were missing and you could see the devastation wrought on the interior. Missing windows, broken glass, and just an overall depressing state of affairs. It looked like Katrina should have happened a year ago instead of 4.

The French Quarter was nice. We ate lunch at Montrel’s – Jambalaya. It was good.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that a disaster on the scale of Katrina takes a long time to recover from. I just wasn’t expecting to see what I saw. Of course, I have no idea what progress has been made, and I expect that people that are down there a lot or live there can see the incremental changes and recovery in ways that I can not. On the positive side I saw lots of spunk – signs reading “Rebuild or Leave” were numerous there. Good on them.

Someday I hope to go back to a fully recovered N’Awlins. One that has recovered her charm and beauty supplied by the residents that love their city so much that they tolerate the incrementalism of rebuilding, they fight for every inch regained. I admire that and it comforts me that there are those who will fight to rebuild in a city still so damaged.

After leaving New Orleans we were on the road for another 9 hours. Counting a stop for dinner at McDonald’s with a PlayPlace so Captain Chaos could burn some energy.

It’s good to be home.

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