Derek and I took Amanda to the airport in New Orleans yesterday. She was very happy to be going home and she made it to Seattle just fine! YAY! I was worried because she had to change planes in Dallas by herself but she is an able kid even though she wants everyone to believe she is not!
While going into New Orleans I was struck by how even the bend of the naked trees is testament to how severely Katrina whipped New Orleans ass last year. Further in it was very easy to tell who had the temerity and the money to rebuild and who didn't. There is still mass destruction down there. There are building still ripped open at the sides and rooves still missing, some covered in blue tarps, some just left alone. Broken windows and doors off their hinges where common, Deserted apartment complexes and department stores like Wal*Mart and Sears and major gas stations stood empty. I couldn't believe Wal*Mart hadn't reopened that store. I told Derek I would have thought they would have been right on top of that to help the community by providing jobs and such with new construction and then running the store. He said it was a ghost town out there, no one to work anyway, and that even Wendys was paying 9.50 and hour just to try to get people to work there.
The closer we got to the airport the more people and reconstruction we saw. Some neighborhoods where still completey empty, others where dotted with people who could.
The better richer looking neighborhoods where doing great. And the mom and pop places seemed to be doing much better then bigger stores. I realized that its about half right now.
And that the people of New Orleans haven't given up, those who didn't come back just started their lives over somewhere else. I believe that those empty places might someday fill up again. Something tells me it will be all new folks that go there though and those who left for shall we say drier ground. While New Orleans was an awesome place with an awesome spirit and I wanted to stay for awhile even just to walk around and absorb that spirit. I wouldn't have been able to stay for long. There is also an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss. There are some spirits there who still don't know what happend to them and they wander aimlessly through what once was their lives.
I must give props to those who have stayed in New Orleans and fixed the damage and have rebuilt their lives. That is not an easy task. I know. I have done it several times and am doing it now.
I am hoping that when we go to the airport again for the girls and I to leave that we can stop somewhere, just for a little while and take in the atmosphere of that beautiful city.