Wednesday, September 8, 2010


From the Daily Episcopalian:

Like most who visit New Orleans, its identity for me was defined by the French Quarter: the food, the music, the funky vibe of walking the streets. For seven years we lived three hours from the Crescent City, two and half if you didn’t stop. Becky and I spent several anniversaries there with a common agenda: wake up to a leisurely courtyard breakfast, walk the streets, eat lunch, head to antique shops for more walking, eat dinner, and walk the streets some more. The walking was a feeble attempt to balance the amount of calories consumed (forgot to mention the stops at Café du Monde for beignets). On other trips we took our children and widened the experience with the Children’s Museum and Aquarium.

The drive into the city drive was like some 1950s sci-fi movie. Unlike the horror of the Mississippi coast which was leveled by Katrina, New Orleans’ damage was primarily flood. Thus, one drove by buildings which were standing, yet empty. One saw apartments and shopping malls basically intact with empty parking lots as far as the eye could see; neighborhood after neighborhood, which from the interstate appeared intact, with no people or movement. It was surreal.

As we exited the interstate and drove along the streets, a severe silence overtook the van. Our friend described aspects of the devastation and the contexts of the neighborhoods. There was still no electricity in most of the flooded areas, no working stop lights, no working street lights. The debris of the yards and streets offered faint suggestions of the internal debris of those who once lived there.
The Very Reverend Todd Donatelli is dean of The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, North Carolina.

Read the rest over there.

I'm grateful to Todd for his account of his visits to New Orleans before and after Katrina and the federal flood. I'm grateful also for the help from Todd and his church community in the aftermath of the disaster.

The people of my native city have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go.

Thanks to Ann Fontaine for the link.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous commenters, please sign a name, any name, to distinguish one anonymous commenter from another. Thank you.