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Monday, February 06, 2006

All This and Tornados, too.

Now that I've concluded enduring an 11 minute upload for a two minute video (!!!) you can click here or on the photo for more New Orleans adventures...or misadventures, really. So what's it like here? Well, that all depends on where you are in this giant, sprawling town. I know it's really a major metropolis, but being a New Yorker I can be jaded about such labels. As far as I'm concerned, if the metropolis you live in sports tornadoes, bike lanes, salamanders and bunny rabbits: you live in a town. It might be a really big town, but it's a town. I hope that doesn't offend anyone.

Anyway, New Orleans can be either be thriving, floundering or failing depending on which corner you are standing on and which direction you are facing. BigB's house is in a neighborhood called the Bywater which is, from what I can tell, a neighborhood in the throes of transition from "pretty darn unsafe" to "just fine, if you know what you're doing and keep your wits about you" and now "hip but not too hip, cool but not too cool, and looks rougher than it really is". It reminds me of NYC's East Village when I was teenager. Or Bushwick now. Except for the salamanders.

We lose power every couple of days for a couple of hours for various reasons. Tornadoes. Local 5-Alarm fires. Someone at the power company sneezes. Whatever. It's frustrating, but not the end of the world. Some areas look clean and spiffed up, but suffer from boarded up storefronts and the resulting lack of services. The French Quarter looks lovely, but lacks tourists, and some things close early. Like noon-early, due to lack of staff. Neighboorhoods that were already hurting before Katrina are far worse off now. Whole thoroughfares of grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, hair salons, sandwich shops: gone. Giant avenues with absolutely nothing open go one for blocks and blocks and blocks. Some of the houses on those same streets are occupied, some aren't. All have huge piles of debris where their front lawns once grew, and the pedestrian islands are still littered with mountains of trash and abandoned cars.

There is a lot of hope floating around. But Katrina is still the number one topic overheard in cafes, on park benches, at Home Depot. "What did you lose?", "Are you staying?", "Is so-and-so's open, yet?". New Orleans is still dusting itself off, and will be for awhile, but there seems to be an overall feeling that it will rise again...unless you find yourself all alone on your brand new bike completely lost at night in the pitch dark in traffic without a tail-light or your cell phone or knowing your boyfriend's phone number in a part of town you probably shouldn't be in even during the day.

Then it doesn't feel so much like New Orleans will bounce back. At. All.
posted by missbhavens @ 11:46 AM |


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