Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My respect for this city

In the past six weeks I have spoken to many New Orleans residents who were here during Katrina. Everyone has a story worthy of a TV movie. Chilling first hand accounts that most Americans couldn't imagine happening in their towns and cities. One man spoke of returning into the city early on and being involved in the clean up. Streets littered with debris and corpses of pets. A woman who took her own life rather than to leave her pet dog behind. He assisted with the logistics of removal of unimaginable amounts of refuge. Landfills just for building debris, appliances, trees and another just for autos. Waffle told about street after street being lined with refrigerators. After the power has been out for several weeks, you don't even want to open up the fridge. In true NOLA fashion, people were going down the streets and painting artwork on the curbside appliances that may still be there for months. Here is the Walmart that I now do my shopping in.

I have heard stories from both sides. Accounts of executions by police or vigilantes. Accounts of looting and pillaging for weeks afterwards. So many neighborhoods are still scarred or missing entirely. The scars are more than building materials, there is an ugly racial tension in NOLA. A hostilely and anger that I never sensed in the most diverse areas of New Jersey. NOLA is a very divided city, and was prior to the storm. Events of the aftermath just galvanized sides. Regardless of personal political views, what you see in the mirror will determine what side of the line you are placed.

Each side will have a different spin on events and tragedies from the storm. I'm sure the truth falls somewhere in the middle of the accounts

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