I’ve been trying to write a blog post about Katrina for a couple months now. I keep coming back to it, but every time, I end up not posting it. I’ve realized that Katrina (at least for me) is a very difficult thing to talk and write about, but I will try my best.
After last night’s blackout at the Superdome, twitter went wild with jokes against Beyonce, Entergy, New Orleans, and even Katrina. In case you missed it, here are some of the tweets: “This time, it’s the rich people trapped in the Superdome.””This power outage is the worst thing to ever happen in the Superdome.” and “FEMA trailers are on the way.” I was surprised at the casualness with which the rest of the country joked about the Superdome during Katrina. I will admit that I thought some of the jokes were funny, but at the same time, they all felt “too soon” After all, the storm was only seven years ago. I recognize that to the rest of the world, seven years probably seems like an eternity. I mean, there are second graders today who weren’t even alive during Katrina. But here in New Orleans, it doesn’t feel like that long ago.
It’s hard to explain why it has been so difficult for me to write a post about Katrina. Every time I begin to write, I feel like I will fail. I will not do the city or the experience justice. The best way I can describe it is that I don’t feel that I have earned the right to talk about Katrina. I never knew pre-Katrina New Orleans. I wasn’t here in 2005. I didn’t have to evacuate or ride the storm out in the city. I didn’t endure the days, weeks, and months following the storm. I didn’t have my home destroyed and see friends and family scattered across the country. I watched the storm from the comfort of my living room thousands of miles away.
But here I am now. I am living and working in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and that means that I am experiencing some aspect of the storm. Since moving here, I don’t think a day has gone by without some reminder of Katrina coming up. And even if my experience is skewed by the fact that I work at a Katrina relief organization, it’s obvious the storm still holds a presence over the city. You still see physical damage (blighted homes and house foundations left on empty lots) in many neighborhoods, and I won’t even try to describe the unseen and emotional damage that I know still hangs in the air. New Orleans may have moved forward, but I don’t think it has moved past Katrina.
That is about all I have been able to write on the subject so far. It’s still such an emotional topic down here. I hope to share more of my own personal experience as I am able to put it into words for you.