Tuesday, August 14, 2007
New Orleans, La
August 16, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
You could call my 163 days a whirlwind. The nights are long, days are bright and it often doesn't matter if my eyes realized the transition. People in New Orleans are saying more and more, "New Orleans got you didn't it?" Yes--like an addiction--New Orleans has me.
But no one ever said honeymoons last forever.
There have been days filled with frustration. What is frustration for a healthy-white-24-year-old with a degree, a job and a place to stay anyway?
It's nothing like what the people here experience daily.
Maybe Webster could condense the word for the rest of us--we could call it "frust."
For the transplants, these are the days you look around at mothers with children, dirty and unhealthy. You drive by vacant residential and commercial real estate. You listen to stories of struggle and heartache. The ones that begin the same, but always take unique twists, making each increasingly harder to hear than the previous.
And then I go home to my apartment, which I'll never have to rebuild. Or I go to the romance of the French Quarter and refuel my affection.
"Frustration" should only be used by New Orleanians.
People down here call it "Katrina fatigue." Everybody gets it. My friend at work lives in a three-bedroom ranch house with 11 people. She sleeps in a twin bed and jokes that her seven-year-old doesn't realize, "Mommy doesn't like legs in her face, honey."
But she remembers the king bed she used to have. She remembers the home she used to own.
"How long do you think it will be until you have your own spot," I ask.
"Probably another couple months," she says.
Like I said at day 77, the human spirit is stronger than I initially imagined. But people are tired and more and more I hear, "I don't even want to hear the word Katrina."
I ask my co-worker how she does it.
"It's what you gotta do," she says.