And a few days later I flew to Louisiana (an already planned trip) and I suddenly went from being a bystander to being immersed as my family's home was hit by Hurricane Rita. Not the trip I had originally planned (to be in New Orleans for an opening of my father's and my grandfather's work), not the trip I had hoped (spending a month on the prairie with Noah and my family, not the trip I wanted (moving, evacuating, cleaning up, being surrounded by loss and panic), but a trip that nonetheless felt right. Instead of being halfway around the world and feeling disconnected and helpless, I was at home.
It made me sad to listen to Eve Troeh's recent piece on NPR. I met Eve last December and I remember how enthusiastic and dedicated she was to being in New Orleans. She also had a very personal and complex relationship with the city. These lines stood out for me
"Which is the real New Orleans? The one that's violent and desperate? Or the one that coos softly, and caresses me? The answer, of course, is both."
You can read or listen to her good-bye to the city here. A good-bye letter to a city because that's the kind of place New Orleans is...a very personal place.
I don't know what will happen to New Orleans, but I suspect that she will continue to be a spicy mix of a place, wounded, lashing out, limping along, seductive, comforting, and rough around the edges.