Monday, August 28, 2006


Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But the fact is, I don't feel much like celebrating or comemorating it. For me now, my life is about struggling to move on, not look back. In a way, for people like us who have been displaced, Hurricane Katrina has never really ended. It is still going on.

This is certainly true in New Orleans proper -- where there are not enough hospitals, not enough schools, where whole neighborhoods still don't have phone sevice, where two-thirds of the potable water in the sytem leaks out before it can be delivered, where the power still goes out every time it rains. And where the levees are still not fully repaired. Make no mistake, New Orleans is not OK. There is still a long, long way to go. Even in the Sliver by the River, life in the one-time City That Care Forgot grinds you down. This month I had my Mom come up and spend a few days with me in Baton Rouge, because she was getting so depressed, and she lives well Uptown; her home never flooded.

Normally I am no fan of supressing your emotions -- I feel the only way to deal with them, is to feel them fully. But in this situation, I see no point in dragging up all the grief and anger about the destruction of my home and may way of life, about the dead, the lost, and the city ruined. That grief, that loss is so huge, that I think if I give into it, it will consume me. I will never stop mourning. Never stop crying. It is too vast. I think this is why people obsessed over their missing pets so much -- that loss, that small loss in the face of so much death and desctruction, was something they could handle, a grief they could encompass. A way to express, yet contain the grief. It was just a dog or a cat, after all. Not a wife, not a parent. A child. A universe.

So I can't go there. If I think about evrything I have lost, how alone I am up here, I will just fall apart. No. I have to keep going forward, try and build a future. One lonely day at a time. The New Orleans of August 28, 2005 is gone forever. Whether here or there, we can only move forward. We have to keep on truckin. Like Scarlett O'Hara said, Don't look back. The past will only drag you down.

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