Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Lady Of The Driveway - I Remember Katrina

Mary, Full of Grace

Thanks to Athenae at First Draft for the photo and the title. She took this picture when she was in New Orleans at the end of March, when a group of us led by FD bloggers, Athenae and Scout Prime, gathered to gut a house, view the destruction, and squeeze in a little fun.

The statue of the Virgin Mary stood in a driveway. The head was broken off, but someone had put it back in place. The photo and the title struck me with such force when I first saw it that I have never forgotten it. The image of the statue of Mary in the driveway - "Mary, full of grace" as Athenae calls her - was the symbol of my destroyed and broken home town, my abandoned city, my beloved New Orleans - always full of grace to me.

Our Lady Of The Driveway

O Mary of the Driveway,
Broken like your city,
Your head lies on the ground.
A sorry sight, a sign,
A sign of devastation
Wrought by wind and water,
Angry blow and raging flow.

A passer-by, one of tender heart,
Sees and stops and mourns your head
Lying there apart,
And gently, gently takes it
And replaces it.
There. Our Lady's whole again.
Or so it seems. Or is it so?

Grandmère Mimi - 5-13-07

I posted the picture and the poem first on May 13, 2007 and then again on the anniversary of Katrina in the years that followed. Until I change my mind, I will post the picture and the poem every year on the anniversary of Katrina and THE FEDERAL FLOOD, which, in New Orleans, was not a natural disaster but an ENGINEERING DISASTER. I remember the more than 1800 people who died and all those who loved them. I remember the 275,000 who lost their homes. I remember those who survived, but suffered through horrendous conditions in the days after Katrina. I remember those who have not returned to their home towns, and who want to, but can't find affordable housing. I remember those in Louisiana and Mississippi still struggling to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.

Katrina - August 29, 2005

UPDATE: See Paul the BB's post "Lest We Forget".

Yes, I know it's quite circular. Paul links to me; I link to him. But I don't care. His post is a beautiful tribute and memorial on this the anniversary of the tragedy.

As I said in his comments, "You know, I couldn't bear to do a post like yours. I'd be overwhelmed. But I'm so very pleased that you did in honor of those who suffered so much."