This morning I am grateful.
I have power. Hundreds of thousands of people don’t.
I have a mess to clean up in my back yard. Many people have a tree through their house.
My house smells a little musty from having the windows open yesterday. Many have standing water in their homes.
My in-laws are safe in their nursing homes. Some don’t know where their loved ones are.
So today I will clean up. I will offer the resources I have to others who have less.
I will give thanks.
With the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, I’ve made a decision. This will be the last year I mark this anniversary. I’m willing to tell the story one last time, as a final catharsis to anyone who still wants to hear it. Then I’m going to declare it in the past.
The first responder marking says: 1 Dead in Attic. Photo credit: Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune
Katrina is still in our daily vocabulary. We use her as a reference in time. We refer to her as an experience that reshaped our lives and our communities. We blame her for our losses. We thank her for our renewal.
Putting it in the past is going to be a hard thing to do, for every day I drive past vacant lots where families once lived, and empty houses with broken windows and spray-painted first-responder code still on the front. But I also drive past gleaming new schools, manicured parks, and thriving communities. Those who haven’t moved forward with rebuilding have obviously made their decision.
This memorial is across the street from the Convention Center. The inscription to the right reads: Honoring the people and remembering the events that occurred August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Photo credit: community.devexpress.com
I’m going to be part of the “new” New Orleans.
I’m going to reflect one last time on this event that changed my life. I’m going to recall a few details, commit the lessons to my memory, and thank those you saved me when I most needed saving.
One last time.