Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Water, water everywhere

New Orleans, my beloved city, is drowning, and it is absolutely breaking my heart.

I imagine that for many people, it must seem like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or the fall of Babylon, but for me, it's the loss of my childhood home. Even though it's been more than 20 years since I lived there (if you count the two years I spent at Loyola University in the late 1980's, then it's more like 15 years), I still feel a closer connection to The Big Easy than I do to either Chicago (where I was born, and where the majority of my blood relatives live) or Atlanta (where we moved to after I finished 8th grade in school).

It seems a little bit silly, but for me it's almost as if I'm watching my childhood die right in front of my eyes (via TV and the internet). I take some comfort in the confidence that the people I know and care about there surely did the smart thing and got out before Hurricane Katrina blew through the area. Still, it will never be the same again. Tens of thousands of houses will have to be rebuilt after having been submerged in the flood waters from Lake Pontchartrain and the Industrial Canal.

I was planning to go there in October for a work-related conference, but that is almost assuredly out of the question at this point. It's more likely that my next trip there will be as part of a relief effort with UMCOR (The United Methodist Committee on Relief) than a pleasure trip.

The ironic thing is that for a while it seemed that New Orleans had once again, through its mystical powers, managed to escape the forces of mother nature, only to be surprised by a failure of its floodwalls. I am told that at present the Mississippi River is calm and almost blue in color. For me, it's an eerily unnatural picture of the river; churned-up mud and silt has always been a sign of the city's status as a hub of water-borne commerce.

2 comments:

mary l marrera said...

Hi "Frank" seems funny to say that..anyway its strange that I was thinking of you , your brother and of course, your mom and dad, when this all starting happening to New Orleans, remembering the beautiful home you had there and so on, but all we now can do is pray, donate and give time to all that need it down there. The city will re-build Im sure , it will take time but they will come back..I heard on the radio this morning that they are saying the French Quarter will come back, not as much damage as they thought...
Im sure your church is praying and giving at this time...
thats it for now...take care Mary Lou

Anonymous said...

Frank,
I'm sad for you. I feel like I've lost my childhood home, and it was just sold after my parents died...I can't imagine what you must be going through. It is unbelievable to see how this whole thing has played out. Hopefully we can get a group going on an adult mission trip and be a ripple in the water...

Sheri