Monday, September 10, 2007

Normal in New Orleans?

Audubon Park,
September 9, 2007

New Orleans, La.

Dear Family and Friends,

In K-Ville, nothing is easy.

Post-Katrina normal has returned since the two-year water mark came 12 days ago.

During that week, Senators and Congressman, Presidents and Prime Ministers flew to New Orleans to deliver messages of hope.

Senator Barack Obama said, “I can promise you this: I will be a president who wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night with the future of this city on my mind."

President Bush said, “This town’s coming back. This town is better today than it was yesterday and it’s going to be better tomorrow than it is today.”

Senator Hilary Clinton said, “Rebuilding New Orleans is not a local obligation, it is an American obligation. And we must finally begin to fulfill it.”

John Edwards said, “America is better than this. We need a national effort to end poverty in America, and we need every American to take action in our fight to build One America. And we need to make sure another Katrina never happens again, in New Orleans or anywhere in America."

Mike Hukabee, the Republican presidential candidate and current Governor of Arkansas said the country needed to put “people first, paperwork next in a disaster the size of Katrina.”

The fingertips of the Newsweek writers and the voices of the CNN reporters came too. They switched interchangeably from New Orleans to the Big Easy and the Crescent City.

New Orleans, the word, started to sound redundant. The amount of material published was massive. For two days, the Big Easy was on everyone’s mind.

Then it was over.

Back in Ohio or Oregon or California, you picked up the kids and snuck in a round of afternoon golf--everyday American life.

That life isn't lost and gone forever in New Orleans.

Last week, your alarm clock still wasn’t a welcome sound.

Same here.

Last week, you sat in traffic on your way to work.

Same here.

Last week, you bought your coffee at Starbucks.

Same here.

The Anderson family has cruisers. Their bikes are stylish and hip. The youngest daughter even has the ribbons on her handle bars.

The ones that stream when the open trail warrants straight-away biking. Jasmine, the mother, says the only thing normal these days is her daughters’ school. Their eighth-grader went to four different schools during the chaotic months after Katrina.

Her husband Eugene owns a furniture refinishing company and has “more work than he can handle.”

They, like hundreds of others, are playing in Audubon Park. A highly-rated golf course is kept in immaculate shape. People run, jog and play Frisbee and football.

People also barbeque at the “levee.”

In K-Ville, nothing is easy; the school and health care systems are starting from scratch. Thousands are still in trailers. Everyone here knows the length of the "K-to-do-list."

Even in K-Ville though, there are still days at the park.



No comments: