Tuesday, March 07, 2006

There is a Season (Turn Turn)

Dennis Persica wrote an opinion piece in Saturday's Times-Picayune. He spoke eloquently about how life and death continue, but other things don't.
Time marches on, but recovery, on the other hand, seems to be having trouble keeping up. We've been through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and now Mardi Gras. But I'm beginning to think that even by the time Independence Day rolls around, not much will have changed.

Similarly, in my Intro to Biblical Studies courses today we were reading about the cycle of life as recorded in Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to harvest up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up...

We then started talking about the Gezer Calendar, an old Iron Age inscription in which months are calculated by agricultural phenomenon, such as the month of harvesting barley, followed by the month of harvesting wheat, and then the two months of harvesting grapes. The discussion then turned towards the ways in which we mark seasons here in New Orleans. It is a pretty amazing time of year. Mardi Gras was one week ago today, and now it is the relaxed time of Lent. My liver is thankful at least. But soon it will be St. Patrick's Day, and then the Indians will be out on St. Joseph's Day, and then of course Easter, and then Jazzfest. However, as the seasonal cycle of life is continuing, still very little seems to be happening to the infrastructure of New Orleans. Even less is happening in the flooded neighborhoods to bring residents back. I am personally living in a racked house that has mold growing inside the walls, while we still wait six months later for our insurance company (Allstate) to settle our claim. I would like to repair our house, but Therese is pretty sure she wants to move to another house. I told her if she can find one that we can afford, I'd go along with her decision. But the prices of houses that didn't flood have skyrocketed. About two weeks ago Allstate finally sent out two engineers who agreed the house was leaning, and we are now waiting on their official report. New Orleans began demolishing houses in the Ninth Ward, Gentilly, and Lakeview just yesterday. The streets are filled with the debris of gutted houses, and many houses haven't been entered since before the hurricane. There are racoons and cats living in some abandoned houses. I believe the slow pace of recovery is shameful. I also think that it is purposeful. I think about how much money Allstate will make by settling our claim nine months later, and then multiply that by about 100,000. I also think the slow pace has to do with the gentrification of the city. I still believe that ten years after Katrina I will look back and see that I am better off for the entire experience. It is hard to see that now though. But I am more patient. You would go absolutely crazy unless you are able to see that this is much bigger than any individual can control.

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