Katrina and me

One year ago today in Park Slope, NY it was 90 gazillion degrees and 100 gazollion percent humidity and i was moving.  After 15 years in a liiiiiitle tiny apt i was moving to a 6 room railroad apt in a little village on the Hudson River.  It was a LONG HOT HORRIBLE TIRING day.

But that morning I had seen that the Hurricane heading for New Orleans had been downgraded and was not going to directly hit NO.  So when I turned off the TV around noon that Monday in the hot hot apt as the movers packed it up, i was relieved and got on with the hellaciousness of moving.  (yes, it was a nightmare and at 1145 pm i was hit with LOTS of extra charges and SIX big guys hanging out on the porch until I paid them in cash, sigh).

Tuesday morning after fitfully sleeping on the couch in the hot humid non air conditioned apt, the Verizon phone guy came and hooked up my phone and the new fiberoptic cable for my internet.   I powered up my laptop and plugged in and …..

started crying.

i couldnt believe it – my beloved city was underwater – it was horrible, beyond words and then i read about the gulf coast – my childhood vacation towns of Pass Christian and Gulfport and Bay St Louis – destroyed, gone, wiped out.

And then i heard from my sister in the same small village  (one of the reasons i moved here) that our sister’s house was probably underwater .  yep, from looking at the 17th Street levee and figuring out the neighborhoods – it was under water. 

I can’t express how i felt – here i was surrounded by mountains of boxes (in that small apt, i had managed to fit 12 bookcases full of books and stacks all over and three big closets full of clothes and of course, yarn) and all my wordly belongings – having paid the earth (to me at least) to have this stuff moved to this new place… and there was my sister and half of New Orleans LOSING everything they owned.

i wanted to lock the door and run away.

Needless to say it was a very strange week motivating myself to get settled and unpacked and organized when my dear sister and her family (husband and son) had lost all.   Ironically they were away on vacation and so at least my nephew (3.5) was spared the horror of the experience of evacuation but on the other hand, they were not able to save anything except what they had with them.

When on Wednesday the Cable guy came and hooked up the cable and then i saw what was going on – i was literally ill.  It made me sick and sad to watch and yet, i found i almost had to have CNN on.  sad sad days in the south – the superdome, the people on the expressways, those images we will NEVER EVER forget. 

i lived through many hurricanes growing up in South Louisiana including one where we were a block from the ocean when it hit and the water came up to the house.   Its the most awful scary amazing display of the wrath of nature you can ever imagine.  I dont wish anyone to ever have to endure one.  However, its part of the territory in leaving in that subtropic region.

One year later, my sister and her family are relocated in faculty housing (three bedrooms!) as part of her new teaching position at a college in the Berkshires.  My nephew seems fine – they did go back last month as my sister is still involved with her Theater Company at Tulane and they drove thru some of the flooded areas – brave that .  i havent talked to my nephew about it but when he was here visiting one day i had to go to the basement for something and he came with me – he asked if it was going to be flooded and i said NO (it had rained a bit the week before).   I cant imagine the impact of seeing that devastation – i havent been back to NO yet.

Today I cry tears of sorrow and loss for my sister’s family and for all the peoples of New Orleans and the lovely Gulf Coast .

Today I pray that the continuing love of  GOD help them in their recovery and in the growth of those beautiful regions.

Today I pray that the leadership of Louisiana and Mississippi remain firm and strong in their commitment to rebuild their cities and regions including making the US Govt pay for as much as they can to recover from the devastation.

And today I am grateful for everything I have in my life – for sisters and nephews and brothersinlaw nearby who share their lives with me, for a loving family (even far away), for a comfortable roof over my head, for my piano and the ability to make music, for all my yarn and my new garden and my cats and the new neighbors and friends i have made in this new home. 

One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness

  • simple tastes
  • a certain degree of courage
  • self-denial to a point
  • love of work and
  • above all, a clear conscience

Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain. 

– George Sand

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