Saturday, January 21, 2006

Katrina: Going Home Again

Eight thousand people (out of a normal 70,000) have returned to hurricane-ravaged St. Bernard Parish, just outside of New Orleans. Some have returned just to reclaim what they can before moving on or because they can't imagine going anywhere else. Many, like my friends Linda and Roy mentioned in this NY Times article, are deperate for normalcy and lonely for home, not just the place but the people. But even as they begin to rebuild, they ask themselves whether they should. No one knows the ultimate fate of this area. The government could come in with new building codes, making their rebuilding efforts moot. Or it could decide that any one of their neighborhoods is best for "greenspace reclamation" rather than reconstruction. No one knows how many or how few of the former residents will come home again and what home will look like years from now.

Most of my family lived in this area before Katrina. My sisters and brothers and I grew up here. Although I lived in New Orleans prior to the storm, this is what I thought about in the days and weeks following that horrible summer day. This is what I still mourn for now.

Home. The street where I learned to ride a bike. The park where I played volleyball and tennis, my little brother played soccer, and my nephews/nieces played soccer, baseball, and basketball. The movie theatre where I fell in love with B movie horror. The elementary school theatre where I sang in our high school's production of Little Shop of Horrors. The places where I taught my nephews/nieces how to throw and catch, how to swing a bat, how to dribble. The crawfish boils and barbecues in sun-drenched back yards. The much-welcomed water fights in the drenching heat. Sneaking over the levees to go swimming. The pick-up games of football before the boys realized I had boobs. The pool hall where I learned to take teenaged boys for their money. Just beat 'em and you play all day. All the little hangout spots where my friends would congregate when school was out. The restaurant where I had my first real job.

Each of these memories has so many faces attached. Friends. Family. Classmates. Teachers. Teammates. Neighbors. Ex-girlfriends. The innocent crushes of youth that shifted with every hormone surge. So many faces that I may never see again.

I'm gone to stay. So is my family, no matter how desperately we miss the place. Not everyone can or will go home again. But it's nice to see some people have.

3 Comments:

Blogger Rob the Webkahunah said...

I am so making you a t-shirt that says "Adolous Huxley was the shizznit"

1:00 AM  
Blogger Melinda Barton said...

I don't know what Aldous Huxley has to do with the katrina post, so maybe you're picking on me about something else? Explain please.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Charles_Thomson said...

Melinda,

I heard about your future job consideration. I hope you get it. You are a very good writer. Keep on writing them.

I do miss New Orleans.



CT

2:45 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home