Friday, September 12, 2008

I am safely in my home in California. And I do have lots to share with you about my travels, but I want to talk briefly about other peoples' homes tonight.

While I have, in the past, perhaps said a few not-so-kind things about Texas, I, like many others, am watching and praying that when I wake up tomorrow morning the news is going to show that Ike wasn't as bad as anticipated. Perhaps that's naive of me, but it's the best I can offer.

As a resident of New Orleans, I've seen what happens to people when their homes and lives are devastated. I've met children who don't ever want to go on a cruise in their life because they had to live on a cruise ship after Katrina. I've talked with families who aren't even phased by the fact that a tornado touched down after Gustav last week because even though they have to get a whole new roof, at least there's only an inch of water, and oh yea, the back wall is still standing. Or one child who cried for 2 weeks after her grandmother died because they shared a room for year after the storm.

Lives were changed by that storm in so many more ways than I ever realized.

Disasters of nature are horrible. No matter how much warning you get, no one can adequately prepare you to have your life turned upside down. It doesn't matter if you evacuate, and sure, the items lost are probably "material" things, but that certainly doesn't make it okay to lose everything you couldn't fit in your car when you had to leave your home to Mother Nature.

I have evacuated a whopping one time now, and I can tell you that watching and waiting to see what would happen with Gustav was one of the scariest days of my life. Being so helpless, so far away and so unsure of the future is nothing short of impossible to process.

One of the things that I loved from the moment I set foot in New Orleans was the spirit of the city. But not just the residents, all those people who came to help out. I've heard from several of you here, those who volunteered after Katrina. Those who gutted houses, cleaned out storm drains, built new homes with Habitat for Humanity. All you who helped New Orleans rebuild after the devastation of Katrina. People came together in a way my cynical mind couldn't even imagine and I think that we owe at least part of the rebirth of New Orleans to you.

There are t-shirts and bumper stickers all around the city, which I love, that say, "Be a New Orleanian, wherever you are." I doubt that the creator of the slogan meant it the way that it's always came across to me, but I always understood it as all of you are a part of this city. So many people helped in so many ways, and you left a little of yourself here. Like you are all New Orleanians, regardless of where you live because you were a part of this city, a part of it's rising and a part of its future.

So tonight, as we wait to see what Ike is going to do to Galveston and Houston, let's all be Texans, wherever we are.


Lipstick Jungle said...

I think that is a fair request that is easy to appease. I am glad you are safe, and I am glad that while it will hit Texas, the brunt will not hit the barely healed N.O.

How did the test go??

Overflowing Brain said...

Is this afternoon.

Is going to be a disaster of epic proportions.

Overflowing Brain said...

Um, wow, bad wording Katie. Not a disaster of hurricane proportions, just like, really bad test proportions.