Resurrecting New Orleans

When Katrina hit, I was laying in a hospital bed, 1500 miles away, recovering from a surgery that did not go well. With my cerebrospinal fluid leaking out a then-unknown puncture in my spinal column, I felt as though my head were imploding. As I watched the hurricane wreak havoc and leave behind massive destruction in its wake, I wondered if the pain I felt was because of the hurricane annihilating the place I've always considered to be the home of my soul.

It took me a long time to get back to New Orleans. I feared what I would find. On my first trip through Treme, I burst into tears. I find the horrors the hurricane left behind around every corner.

But slowly, it's coming back. The spirit of the people hasn't changed. The fearless love of living life and celebration of being alive in this city has not left. Some things cannot be wiped out by floods, or hurricanes, or even death.

The houses are so sad. Monuments of something someone once loved now sit abandoned. "Blighted" they're called. The "blight" isn't the unsightliness of the abandoned property . The blight is that there wasn't enough love to resurrect the place someone once called home.

Yesterday, I watched two workmen take down the first piece of plywood from one of the windows of a Katrina house. It made me smile. Maybe someone new loves this little house enough to raise it from the dead. I hope so. Because that is the spirit of New Orleans. And the world wouldn't be the same without it.


“Resurrecting New Orleans,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 16, 2024,