I love New Orleans. I’ve visited there several times, including this past April to attend the Jazz Festival. It is, quite honestly, one of my favorite cities in the world. The music, the food, the atmosphere… there really is no place else quite like it. As someone there once pointed out to me, it’s a city that was founded by prisoners and prostitutes… Party Central!
Listening to jazz in Jackson square, taking vampire tours in the French Quarter, walking down Bourbon Street, eating beignets at Café DuMonde on the banks of the Mississippi River, riding the cable car to the Garden District, going to the racetrack where Jazz Fest is held… these are just some many wonderful experiences I’ve had in the city.
And it’s not just the places; I’ve also met great local people. At Jazz Fest this year, my friends and I met this wonderful man who offered to give us a ride back to our hotel, and ended up giving us driving tour of the city. He drove us all around the city. The city he loved… the city that’s now devastated. I hope that he and his family are all right. I’ll never know.
The first time I visited there, we rented this woman’s apartment in the Warehouse District for the weekend (she was a friend of a friend or something like that). She waited for us to arrive, poured everyone a glass wine, gave us instructions on good food, music, and taxis, and then proceeded to get into her car (with her glass full of wine in the cup holder), and drive off. I watched her leave in amazement. I hope she’s OK. I wonder if her home, a home I stayed in, still exists. Chances are that it doesn’t.
To say that my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone there (and in the surrounding areas in the Gulf that were also affected) seems like such a trite thing to say. Of course my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone there. And of course I will donate what I can to relief efforts. But I feel so inadequate watching the destruction of someplace I love.
I know that it’s not just New Orleans that is affected. I am equally heartbroken over the destruction in Mississippi and throughout the entire Gulf area. But I’ve been to New Orleans, and it’s very hard to watch someplace I love literally drown.
Death tolls are expected to soar into the thousands. Eighty percent of the city is underwater. It’s almost impossible to actually comprehend the magnitude of the horror.
I realize that I’m just rambling right now. I guess I’m trying to articulate how I feel, and I’m sure that I’m not succeeding. But sometimes you just need to vent. And while I am oftentimes caught up in the drama that is my own life, sometimes you just have to pause and be grateful for the little things that you do have.
I know that city will be rebuilt. New Orleans and its people have too great of a spirit, too great of a soul, not to rebuild. And I’ll visit there again one day… I look forward to that time.