Chris Rose of the Times-Picayune sums up beautifully what I was unable to say the other day. Please click through to read the whole article.
My wife questions the wisdom of my frequent forays into the massive expanse of blown-apart lives and property that local street maps used to call Gentilly, Lakeview, the East and the Lower 9th. She fears that it contributes to my unhappiness and general instability and I suspect she is right.
Perhaps I should just stay on the stretch of safe, dry land Uptown where we live and try to move on, focus on pleasant things, quit making myself miserable, quit reliving all those terrible things we saw on TV that first week.
That’s advice I wish I could follow, but I can’t. I am compelled for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. And so I drive.
I put my pictures up on a server here at work for people to look at, and one guy commented that judging from the food pictures, it looks like at least progress is being made, some things are getting back to normal.
And that is exactly the impression I don’t want to give.
There is an island of civilization called Uptown. There is a corridor of normalcy centered on Magazine Street, over to St. Charles. There is business being done in the CBD. There are bars on Bourbon Street.
So if you look at my pictures of po-boys and gay bars and coffee shops, you think, “well, rebuilding seems to be ramping up. That’s good news, right?”
And you would be missing the point entirely.
I want all of you, if you have the means, to take a three-day vacation to New Orleans some time in the next couple of months. If you go, I’ll try to drive over and meet you there and I’ll take you on a tour. I want you to see this. I want you to understand.