Today is oh, so very Monday, isn’t it? I’m nursing a rough hangover — and not from drinking, sorry to say. I guess it’s better described as jet lag without the jet. Out of town all weekend, getting home late to face a weekend’s worth of responsibilities in a single late afternoon. You know the type. But my sister got remarried this weekend, which will be a big relief to her ex’s paranoid wife (#3, I might add, since I appear to be descending into bitchiness quite rapidly here), who thinks sis still wants the ex. Which, by the way, couldn’t be further from the truth. So I’m happy for my little sister, who no longer has to endure the hell that dating in your late 30’s can be. And who has someone that makes her laugh and not take herself too seriously. And who loves (and respects) her boys. And drives her nuts in the way that only a crazy Cajun guy can do. A toast to you both.
The festivities were in New Orleans, which I had not returned to since the hurricane. After the party, we took a tour of the devastated areas. Guys, there are no words. Fox and CNN do not even begin to show you what it’s like down there. The media does the damage no justice. The thing that was the worst for me was the air. The acrid stench is gone, unless you go inside some of the houses (we didn’t). But the air. It’s dead. There is no scent. There is nothing. It’s a heavy, thick, dead air. The trees that remain are dead. The grass, the bushes, the brush. All dead. The floodwaters killed everything. No green sprigs peeking out from anywhere. The homes — empty, lifeless, hopeless. Piles of rubbish — a doll, a teddy bear, a desk lamp, a bathroom scale. Anything that provided any evidence that the places were once inhabited by humans is piled in massive piles along the boulevards that once divided lively, dancing streets.

The spice is gone. The flavor. The people that made this decadent city the place that it used to be are gone. Certain areas are trying desperately to bring back what New Orleans once was. Restaurants are open, but many are closed by evening for lack of employees. The ones that remain open are filled to capacity with folks looking for some taste of pre-K New Orleans.

Once the state and federal governments stop playing the blame game and the insurance companies stop saying “you go first,” the buildings may begin to breathe new life. I just hope the city does.

There are signs, both in New Orleans and here in the capital city, where we have taken in many of those people who once called New Orleans home, that read, “Do You Know What It’s Like to Miss New Orleans?”

Now I do.

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