Posted by: tranalist | March 8, 2007

New Orleans Part II

Of course, the trio’s trip to New Orleans was a great excuse to get together. We had a lot of fun, as seen in New Orleans Part I. As I mentioned previously we stayed at a missions base in the heart of down town New Orleans just a few months after Katrina hit. The city had been drained by then, but as Sean drove us home from the airport, he pointed out the watermarks left on the freeway walls and pillars revealing just how flooded parts of the city had gotten. The watermarks in some places reached 12 feet high…it was unbelievable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The house we stayed in survived with minimal damage, the water, miraculously only reached the bottom of the outside steps, while other homes around it were flooded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “The Dwelling Place” prepared lunch daily for those who had returned to the city. I participated in a couple of these luncheons. Since I’m no cook, I served the food (something I am good at!), poured drinks, sat and talked to people, and at one point even carried on a conversation in my broken Spanish and Portuguese with a migrant worker from Cuba who was sitting by himself.

                                                                                                              

Girl holding pan of orange slices puting them on plates of food

                                                                                                                                                                                            Boy did these people have stories. I often wonder why they’d return to a place that didn’t have much to offer them after the hurricane, but their entire life’s history is wrapped up in this city. The older people would share so many stories from the past, stories about their parents, and stories about their parent’s parents. I got to hear first hand accounts about surviving the storm. One man had gone outside, saw the water rising, ran inside to get his car keys, and by the time he was back out, his car was underwater. He survived by getting on the roof of his home. Another shared how a friend’s family had drowned.

     

Girl talking with a group of people at table

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was heartbreaking. They could have started over anywhere, but they wanted to start over here, in this city that had destroyed their homes and belongings, this city that had claimed lives, this city that didn’t have much to offer but a remembrance of past memories. I learned that when roots run deep, trees stay planted even if there’s barely enough water to survive. And yet…somehow…they always do.

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