Before and After Hurricane Katrina
As I walk outside, I smell the aroma of fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread floating in the air. My daughters are playing with their puppy on the sidewalk and other children have joined the fun. It is a bright and beautiful afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. One neighbor has their radio out listening to the smooth sounds of jazz while keeping their eye on the children. The children are riding bikes, jumping rope, playing with water guns, and enjoying life to the fullest. The men have tables set out to play cards, dominoes, and are discussing the recent sports they watched on television. Everyone in the neighborhood has some kind of activity going on. From boiling seafood to barbequing, the entire area was full of life.
The month of June was the most favored month in New Orleans. The swimming pools were open, children are out of school, and the adults are ready to party. There would be luaus, with children in their bathing suits, a disc-jockey playing music, and plenty of water to go around. Water balloon fights, water guns, hose pipes, just buckets and buckets of water being tossed around. The music is loud and the people are even louder. Conversations and fun are passed around pulling neighbors closer to one another. There aren’t any arguments, fights, or drama, just good old fashioned fun to repay the children for a great school year.
In August 2005, the neighborhood changed for the worst. A hurricane headed our way with winds exceeding one hundred miles per hour, and an expected storm surge of twenty foot high waves. The neighborhood was destroyed beyond recognition. It looked as if it was a military bomb testing site. Homes were pushed from their foundations, swept away by intense wind and waves. Vehicles were blocks away from where they were originally parked. Everything and everyone I grew to know and love were gone. The smell was horrendous. The smell of...