What was I doing 5 years ago?
I was glued to the news. I had no idea how much was about to change, and how dramatically.
None of us did, really.
I've written about this before, on my old Myspace page, but I forgot to print it out before I deleted the page so forgive me if you've already read something similar. What I said then was a lot about how the world stopped for so many of us with ties to the Crescent City. If you aren't too familiar with New Orleans, you should keep a couple of things in mind: it's below sea level, and it's a fishbowl. A lot of us - and by that I mean the people who didn't live there - were under the impression that NOLA had somewhat dodged a huge bullet named Katrina. That is, until I came back downstairs, dressed for work, and saw the film of the water just pouring into the city from the breached levee.
My heart dropped into my shoes. Our beautiful, vibrant fishbowl was filling with water, and the tears came like the flooding. I only remember being horrified and texting the husband "the levee's broken, NOLA's flooding, it's BAD" and then being unable to move for a while, unable to tear myself away and hoping I was about to wake up. It only got worse from those first pictures, as you know. So much worse, for so many.
There's a lot of political controversy surrounding the government's response, all the way up from the local to the federal level, and I won't get into my personal thoughts about it. I will say this, though: there's absolutely NO controversy about the swiftness and extent of the response from everyday people, people with no real tie to the city other than as part of the human community. For every person who said there was no point in rebuilding after Katrina, there were - and are to this day - hundreds who stood up and said "What can I do to help you rebuild this amazing city?" You see, we need New Orleans. We need the history, the music, the "laissez les bons temps roulez" spirit, the food (oh have mercy, the food!)....without New Orleans, our country would be missing part of its heart and a large part of its soul.
I need New Orleans. On September 18, 2004, G and I were married there and now it's a permanent part of him too. I've spent time there since I was a little girl. As a Louisianian, it's part of my heritage, part of what I want to pass down to J as what is good and right about life...that freedom to let go of your cares for a while and remember what good music, the hot sun at the Fairgrounds, and a cold one in your hand can do to soothe your tired spirit. It's coming back. People are still working tirelessly to ensure that we always have the Crescent City as a place for all of us to call home, because for a lot of us, it is, whether it's where we get the mail, or where we left our hearts.
It's been five years. We remember you.