Friday, August 29, 2008

3 Years Later, 85 Saints Go Marching In

Living in New Orleans, I think about Hurricane Katrina every hour of every day. I feel like I have not yet entered the "post" in "post traumatic stress disorder." One-third of the houses in this great city remain empty, and the black flood line is still visible throughout my neighborhood. Today near my house they are finally burying the remains of 85 unidentified individuals who died after the levees broke. How sad it would be to drown and not have anyone be able to identify the body. For me that epitomizes being alone, and serves as a microcosm for the U.S. government's abandonment of our recovery. At the same time I'm inspired by all of the students, church groups, and volunteers who have travelled and given their sweat to help us rebuild. I've also very much enjoyed living in our renovated house, though I'm still angry as hell it took three years to rebuild due to the insurance industry. And it's not easy to be objective with Gustav entering the Gulf. Many people here are terrified the city will be underwater come Tuesday. Our lives here depend on quality levees, and nobody I know has any faith in the Army Corps of Engineers. But even with all of this stress, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. New Orleans is unique. When the city honored the 85 unidentified victims of the failed levees, they sent them out with a Jazz Funeral, and Lord how I want to be in that number.


bullet said...

What a wonderful post, Michael.


amen sir. i know yall will ride this storm out in the right place once it becomes clear where it's going.

at least we got more prep time this time around.


when i lived in mid-city my mediation walks would allways be thru the cem's at the end of canal and the one by degado.

it allways bugged me that i couldnt walk thru the charity indigent cem ( my mom is a retired r.n. from charity).

while the reason sucks for that sacred ground being open to the public i think i will invite my mom there for a walk.

looking forward to hearing some more of her stories that i have never heard before.

Joel Mielke said...

Thanks for the posts. I've always envied New Orleans, because she has so much personality and verve. Much more so than any other great American city.

Now all I can do is pray for her.