Friday, August 29, 2008

Three Years On

Happy Katrina Day, if you're reading this. I don't know why you would be, I've neglected it for so long, but it's still here, like a tree just waiting to be watered, and so here I am again today.

So much has happened since Katrina changed everything three years ago. And still so much is the same. I feel like a fraudulent reporter even touching on what's happened. It's ridiculous to come back here once every few months for updates, when the recovery is daily, and I'm so distant.

Every few weeks I resolve to recommit myself to this, and then disappoint myself by not. Sorry to the universe.

Facts: my mom is back on her property in a beautiful little home she's overjoyed to live in, built by successive waves of wonderful volunteers since the storm. She's just received some rebuilding money from the state of Mississippi which she's using to shore up the rough spots left over, and to elevate the house to new FEMA standards (which change frequently since the storm).

She recently received a creepy pre-recorded phone warning from Governor Haley Barbour telling her to evacuate in the path of Gustav, as if she wasn't planning on it already.

That's her on the left in the above picture. Next to her is her childhood friend Russell. Next to him is her sister, my aunt Lorraine, who's self conscious about her down-turned smile since the stroke, but who I think is just as beautiful and beaming as she's always been. The three of them grew up together first on Piety Street, then on McKain Street, in New Orleans.

Their dads worked together in the junkyard, chopping up cars for scrap using big hand axes. Russell had nineteen brothers and sisters, in a family poorer even than mine. Now he lives in a FEMA trailer on an abandoned lot with two dogs, a bunch of Katrina junk, a statue of the Virgin Mary he hand painted, and an old school bus backed up to a canal cruised by alligators, which he fishes out of for meals.

His sister was murdered in New Orleans last week. The New York Times wrote a piece about the crime in New Orleans, the crime that took Russell's sister.

It mentioned Piety Street. I don't know how any of this fits together on this day. But I know that it does.

I'll be back soon.