Dear Hurricane Katrina,
It seems like only yesterday when my mom called me in a panic to warn me about your arrival. “This is a category 5.”
I wasn’t concerned with you at the time. I was more focused on the dreadful 12-hour drive to Baton Rouge; even more concerned about financing this inconvenient trip that I truly thought was only going to last for the weekend.Just like the hurricanes before; you threaten us, we leave, we spend our much-needed money, then come back to our homes just as normal as we left them…But you had a trick up your sleeve. Sneaky to say the least; came through southeast Louisiana with a vengeance. It almost seemed as if you came to pay us back for all those false alarms, all of those missed opportunities to destroy a city and its people.
When you finished your tirade, you kept on going with no regrets. You never looked back to see what you’d done, what you’d left behind. Thousands stranded, killed, injured, in need of medicine, stuck in dormant waters. Our homes flooded, animals abandoned, you left them, us, an entire city waiting, angry, frustrated and afraid.
I was a lucky one; I evacuated in time and came back home to “only” three to six feet of water. That was easy compared to many others. I’d tell people my numbers and I could remember them saying “Good, y’all were lucky.”
For months we’d hear “How many feet did you get?” Everyone must have heard it and answered it over a thousand times.
Dates and years became irrelevant, everyone related time to before and after Katrina.
Yes, you changed my world and so many others’. You even turned it upside down; but I’m not mad at what you’ve done and the changes you’ve made.
You destroyed a city, but at the same time you brought people together.
It wasn’t FEMA, or the Red Cross, or the local government and politicians.
For the first time, I saw a city come together like never before. It was us, the people of New Orleans who began to rebuild, citizen by citizen, home by home, neighborhood by neighborhood. We helped each other and persuaded each other to come back.
We rebuilt the city, one house, one building, and one family at a time.
Many wondered why, why would we want to come back to the city underwater? But with all of the transplants living here, apparently the locals weren’t the only ones wanting to rebuild the city.
After you, Katrina, I’ve never seen more city spirit. Fleur de lis hanging from every building and home, tattooed on bodies, and the emblem for every local company. Festival numbers and the patrons attending are outlandish.
People are moving here from all over the world, choosing New Orleans over major cities like New York City and Los Angeles. Large businesses, chains and corporations are venturing out to us.
Hollywood South? No, we’re the new Hollywood.
Because of you, New Orleans is becoming the great city it once was and always had potential to be.
Yes Katrina, you came in and you destroyed, but you didn’t break us. We didn’t let you because no matter where we go, we will always know that there is no place on Earth like the city of New Orleans and no people around like the Whodats.
It doesn’t matter how far you sent us and how long we were there I can promise you this: “We are always proud to swim home.”
Just another citizen of New Orleans…
Originally Published here…