Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm tired. My house wasn't sufficiently cleaned up enough for me to be able to even let my mom in to use the bathroom - a casualty of all the traveling I did last week. I schlepped my parents to Whole Foods instead, which my dad wanted to see for himself anyway so that he could gauge what Oklahoma City was missing in not allowing the grocery store to open there yet. Dad seemed amazed that we had so much grocery shopping not far from our house, and a good grocery store besides, he said, instantly envious of the Arabella Station makeover.

When I drove my parents back into the Warehouse District from finding cell phone chargers at the AT&T shop on Tchoupitoulas, I was peppered with questions about New Orleans' recovery. I'd kind of asked for it, really. I kept pointing out places of interest, water lines that were still in existence, and places that had rebuilt and reopened to my mother, who hadn't been down here since my wedding nearly eight years ago. She took it all in and rarely replied when I pointed out details such as the plaque marking the water line from 8-29's floods on the door of the remade Angelo Brocato's, which made me wonder if I was sounding like some sort of Cassandra-like figure, seeing hints of tragedy in nearly every inch of my surroundings. Did little or no response add up to sympathy, pity, or simple interest? Perhaps she was just as tired as I. I had to give us both a break...a break that my father wasn't willing to yield.

Once again, I'd asked for it. I pointed out the NORD facility on Tchoupitoulas that was going to ruin and said it hadn't reopened after the storm.

"So what industry has returned since the storm?"
"Not much."
"Huh. What's your city's population back to now?"
"Close to 350,000."
"What was it before?"
"Around 450,000."
"So the population numbers are almost bringing the city back to what it was, the schools are bad, there's little to no good recreational facilities for all the families and their kids, the hospitals aren't returning in full, little to no new business is coming in, and your mayor's an idiot."
"This city is going to explode," Dad concluded, meaning "explode" in a bad way. "Why the hell don't you get rid of your mayor already? He lives in Dallas anyway, right?"

The absurdity of it all hit me right between the eyes at that moment. I couldn't give him an answer.

And I have little hope that the lawyer conducting the crime camera deposition is going to get satisfactory answers from Hizzoner the Walking Id today, either.

Why do I live here again?


GentillyGirl said...

Betts and I knew that the Recovery was going to be a long haul back in '05. Still, we love this place and we are optimistic that things will get better. (when is the question)

This place is a land of dreamers, creators and artists. There is nothing like it in the Wasteland.Here their is a soul and that makes living here an art.

Hang in there Darlin'.

Scott said...

being one of the young on whom youth is wasted, i always forget that New Orleans isn't just a fun, dynamic place to live, but an actual city trying to function. thanks for reminding me, i guess. it never hurts to pay more attention.