I guess I knew in my gut Friday that something really bad was going to happen this time around. Not that last year's string of hurricanes weren't awful, but when I heard that Katrina was going to move across Florida to the Gulf Stream, gather strength, and then move back inland, I felt an absolute twinge of fear. But then, I heard my friend David tell me that it was all going to blow over, and so I moved on. But just for a minute there, and for a string of minutes later in the week-end, actually, I thought, "This is going to be the worst one."
And now, the question I'm hearing on the TV is, "Will New Orleans ever be the same?" To even think of the demise of such a city--a city of magic, a city of fear, a city of sheer joy, a city of crazy beauty--to even consider such a jewel of the South as a faded remnant of the past makes me indescribably sad. And then, to hear the stories, to see the photos. To hear of people trapped in their attics, as the waters rose, inch by inch, with hearts filled with fear and an increasing sense of hopelessness. To hear of the thousands in the Superdome, sweltering and with nowhere to go. To hear of the homeless and displaced, moving through the wreckage desperately looking for food. To see the miles of broken highway, poking up through a vast expanse of water like a series of broken teeth; to see the dreams of businessmen and homeowners washed away in three short days...
I can only hope and pray that one year, two year, three years from now, these horrible nights and days will only be a not-so-distant memory, and this city of Louis Armstrong, of Tennessee Williams, of the French Quarter, of Jazz, will be on the road to recovery, somehow reclaiming the spirit that has made this city so legendary.
I have faith that those twinkling lights can shine again.
And by the way, on a slightly unrelated note: go Cindy Sheehan! I think her Camp Casey movement is marvelous...and actually, this note is related, somewhat, since I heard her on an interview today pointing out that Bush was busy playing golf yesterday while New Orleans was going under. I'm not certain which is more disgusting: that, or certain conservatives suggesting that her peace movement is simply "using her son's death to push the liberal agenda of groups supporting her." When in doubt, use the "L" word. And I don't mean lesbian. Gulp.