Katrina, I’m Over You Bitch

Zydepunks show @ DBA, June 2008

Me and Q enjoying a Zydepunks show at DBA.

I started to write part 2 of my last post on Hurricane Katrina, but then I realized I had zero interest in rehashing that bullshit yet again.

I’m over it.

Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to forget what happened, or that the scars I have and fears I carry will ever disappear. But I’ve learned to live with it, and I’ve moved on, just as the vast majority of New Orleans has. All the morbid documentaries on TV this week are not for us, they are for the rest of America or the world, that wants to wallow in gratuitous disaster porn. I tried watching one, and so many painful memories resurfaced that I refused to watch another one that only recapped the storm itself. I want to hear about now and the future. Unlike most other stations, CNN has been doing excellent and abundant non-disaster coverage on Nola including stories about the rebuilding status in neighborhoods, the new education system, the new mayor, the cleanup of our institutions of corruption, and the defiant spirit of locals after Katrina *and* the BP oil spill. This, coupled with their live coverage of the Saints Superbowl victory parade has them far on my good side. Anyway…


Mini Q hanging out at a family backyard BBQ.

We’ve rehashed and over-analyzed the past five years to the point of exhaustion. We know what happened, and we know what we as New Orleanians, Louisianians, Americans… as humans, did wrong. We have learned from it, and rebuilt a better city, one that held on to the best of our culture (a warm Franco-Afro-Caribbean passion for living like we mean it – through harder work in less hours complemented by decadent traditions) while discarding or disavowing the worst (corruption in government and education, both black and white racism, and poor economic development). We’ve crafted an island of energy and enthusiasm in a time when the rest of the country is in the economic dumps. Sure, we’re not immune to it, but we’re taking it very well, especially considering we had oil hemorrhaging all over us for three months.

Personally, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime since Katrina. No five year period in my life has ever felt so long, so filled. When Katrina hit I was a broadcast news assignment editor interviewing to become a federal agent. If you’d told me then that in five years I’d endure the worst man-made disaster in US history and watch my entire hometown get wiped off the map, move cross-country and back, career change to publicist and writer, have two babies, and then watch the worst oil spill in US history dump all over my home state – I’d have thought you were drunk. And I think it’s this way for many people. The memories of Katrina are so painful and harsh they are still recalled like yesterday, yet so much has happened to us since then it also feels like decades ago.

Mirliton Fest 2009

Me and 21 month-old Zuzu dancing at Mirliton Fest in Bywater.

I know not everyone feels they are better off since the storm, but I do. Now I can barely recall the restless and unfulfilled person I used to be. Five years ago I spent my time obsessing about my career and ambitions, now I spend it enjoying my family and friends via backyard BBQs, music or food festivals, cooking with my windows open, or just lounging on my porch with a beer while the babies play at my feet. Sure, I still have ambitions, but I don’t lose sleep over them. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

New Orleans is a powerful example of what resilience, energy, love, and passion can accomplish. I think in many ways we took New Orleans for granted before Katrina, and now we’re finally treating her like we really love her. Sometimes it does take the worst to bring out the best in people… and places. I feel very fortunate to be here in a time of such renaissance for the place I was born. So no, I don’t want to talk about Katrina any more than is necessary, I want to talk about now.

Now, is really heartening.

Originally published on Pistolette.net.

2 thoughts on “Katrina, I’m Over You Bitch

  1. OH Honey, Honey, Honey….I am SO GLAD you wrote this. After watching Spike Lee’s “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise” I didn’t know what to think. My dream has always been to have a second home in New Orleans. My dream has been to spend more than a week or two or three in my favorite city in the U.S. I have fallen in love with the culture, the people, the heat, the politics, the music and even the bugs. Its not San Francisco and I LIKE THAT!!!

    I like Spike Lee too but come on DUDE…the people of New Orleans have strong, resilient spirits. The New Orleans’ I’ve met have returned to make it work, to make it better in the neighborhoods, the schools, the government. I say to Spike, don’t come into someone’s back yard, trash it then leave. Show me how its been cleaned up. Show me the neighborhood organizations that have popped up around town – organized to take care of its people. Show me the educational programs that are trying to create a better public education system for New Orlean’s children. Show me the incredible art’s programs that exist in a town where music and art are such an integral part of life. DON’T and I repeat DON’T Spike Lee, keep crying about what hasn’t been done, what may never be done or insinuate will never be done. If you feel that strongly about the “demise” of New Orleans than do something other than perpetuating a climate of despair and hopelessness. Contribute money to your favorite New Orleans project. Bring the moneyed into that project. Do a follow-up to that morbid “Da Creek” and show the positive work being done by the residents. And please….. stop whining! You, Spike Lee are perpetuating a climate of hopelessness. Five years later, despite all, there is also a climate of hope. That hope is what keeps people returning to New Orleans. It is the people who have reorganized their city. It is the people who have made it better. That is why I will live there. New Orleans is a city of strength and renewal and rebirth.

  2. Awesome post! I had started to believe I was alone in feeling like the media is wanting us to wallow in self-pity. Bad shit happens. Everywhere and in varying magnitudes. We are resilient and we have made great strides since 8/29/05 but if there are those who find value in rahashing it all to death, leave me out of it, thank you, lawdy.
    I actually have left the city for a few days to visit my fam in MS and to get away from the media frenzy. I highly recommend it.
    Charlotte who is on dial-up where it takes to long to log into her own blog. lol

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