Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Orleans update....

Well, here we are, ten months removed from “the storm”, about to enter the height of the gulf hurricane season and so far, so good. I have learned not to joke about storms in the gulf of Mexico, though. People here are still very skittish. The population is still only about a third of what it was pre-katrina, but there are some good signs…

This weekend, I awoke to an odd sound. Or more accurately… the lack of sound. Every morning I have had the opportunity to sleep in for a few hours lately, I have been awoken by the sound of hammers, nail guns, and the occasional whistle of construction worker at a female jogger.

Maybe it was just the holiday weekend, but it was encouraging that with all the damage done and still to be repaired that someone decided that what was left in my neighborhood could wait a day. Maybe… my neighborhood’s damage has been fixed. So, today I had a look see before heading to work. I saw a marked lack of blue roofs in my walk around the neighborhood, and couldn’t help but smile.

Another good sign I think, is that there are a number of people that are complaining that they’ve moved back into their homes, but FEMA hasn’t come to pick up their trailers. There are still thousands of people waiting for these things, and yet FEMA can’t seem to pick them up from the front lawns of the thankful (yet irritated) and give them to those in need. Most folks are afraid that their FEMA trailers will be unseated in a good storm, and do even more damage to their homes than all the flooding did. I also noticed a story in the Times-picyune last week about one guy who wanted to just buy his trailer outright (to use as a camp out in the swamp someplace) but was flatly denied by FEMA.

Me, I would just find a family that needs one and move it myself. Cut out the middle man.

The other thing I noticed this week is all the migrant workers. On my commute, I pass along Claiborne, near Napoleon, and am amazed that a scene I had always associated with southern California seems to be playing itself out daily on the streets of the big easy. Hundreds (not exaggerating) of Mexicans sit near a deserted gas station every morning, waiting for contractors to come by and pick them up for whatever job they need done that day. I’ve been told that if you slow down in a pick up truck near that corner, you’ll wind up with a few workers in the back, if you need them or not.

Amazing. I had never felt that the current immigration issues effect me at all, but here I was staring it right in the face.

Well, my mood is cautiously guarded now. I’m starting to be just a bit more optimistic about the recovery, and my small part of it. Who knows… if we manage to avoid another big storm this year, I may just stay after all.


Becca said...

I still plan on coming down to visit, so if you're still there, a nice dinner is on me!!! (Oh and a pitcher of Red Sangria too!!! But I'll go higher scale than Devil Dogs...)

Glad to see things look better. It's good to know you can have a positive attitude and not let all the tragedy cloud your vision.

The Mexicans on the corner should just remind you of Port Richmond Ave...


Melinda Barton said...

My dumb sister is actually moving back to St. Bernard just in time for the worst part of hurricane season. grrrrrrrrrrr. Like I need one more person to worry about.
But on a better note, please remember that you're welcome at Casa Melinda if you need to get out of town fast.