I read this quote the other day in the Times Picayune newspaper:
"I didn't truly get New Orleans until I heard this quote after Katrina," features editor James O'Byrne commented this week. "It's this: Once you stop thinking of New Orleans as one of the worst run cities in America, and start thinking of it as the best run city in the Caribbean, it all makes sense."
New Orleans has its own vibe - different from any other. Sure, it's basically built in a "bowl" between the Mississippi River and the Lake Ponchartrain. We have four seasons: Crawfish Season, Shrimp Season, Oyster Season and Hurricane Season, with a lot of overlapping there.
After Hurricane Katrina, some folks in other parts of the country would shake their heads wondering why we'd want to rebuild a sitting that's a hurricane magnet. But one might say the same for much of the state of Florida, the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coasts. There's also California with its earthquakes and wildfires, the midwest with its tornadoes, the northeast with its ice storms. Truth is, no matter where you live, it's always something, isn't it?
Make no mistake. New Orleans has not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina. I wonder whether it ever will, frankly. Parts are doing very well, other parts are getting by, and yet other areas are mere ghosts of their former selves.
Fortunately, Gustav didn't pack the punch originally predicted, although plenty of people are struggling now. Thankfully, Ike blew past us today toppling some trees, pushing our lakes past their boundaries but so far I haven't heard reports of major damage in Louisiana. Our neighbors in Texas are poised to bear the brunt of Ike's force. My thoughts and prayers are with them.