Did Katrina Almost Destroy New Orleans?
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
As I traveled through the city my first day back, I noticed a quiet jubilance in the residence of this city on the Mississippi. Her spirit bruised and slightly battered, her patience tested and her heart strengthened by the ordeal, which was Katrina. Still I wondered were this was all going, was this the aftermath of a holocaust or was this the sign of true rebirth? My experience has taught me from my own encounters with natural disasters that people want to get past such a tragedy as soon as possible, in fact they want to erase the scars of disaster as quickly as they can. The process of cleaning up and the act of restoration and repair are always foremost in the minds of the residence after the finger of god passes through their lives. Mostly, I have found that the federal agencies, local governments and the volunteer organizations try to alleviate the trauma and suffering as soon as possible. The restoration of power and water are of utmost importance in returning a population to some semblance of normal after a devastating catastrophe.As I walk around the city I see that the blight of disaster has been completely erased and that the people are now trying to repair the things, which cannot be seen. Like their teetering economy and restoring the mental image most New Orleans' residence have of themselves. Let me explain, here we have a city which is in itself a museum, the total sum; part and parcel is steeped in historic legends and facts. There is not one inch of New Orleans and the surrounding area, which is not subject to some historical event. Most of what we know of this city is integral in the creation of our country and its freedom and pride. Throughout history many famous people have resided and visited New Orleans and that is true for famous educators and artists as well. The point is; the people of New Orleans are proud of themselves and they are proud of their heritage and history, and for them to be smashed down by the Storm was a blow to their self-esteem and pride. They took upon themselves to immediately dig out of the debris and rebuild their damaged history and restore it to almost perfect order. This restored their pride and made them feel whole again, but still that was not the end of it. Like I said, this is a historical landmark, the Crescent City; on almost all the buildings here are plaques of brass markers showing the significance they hold in our historical culture. Consequently, people come here from all over the world to view, smell, feel, taste and love the ancient ambiance which is everywhere in New Orleans. Educators and laypersons come here to study the history of the United States and the significance this city has held in the creation of America. So when the city was crippled by the storm, the economy immediately faltered and those people stopped visiting New Orleans. The heart of the city ceased to beat; everyone held their breath as they waited for things to return to normal. Everyone worked hard painting, repairing and bringing the infrastructure back on line to begin to attract the necessary tourist dollars, which is essentially the life's blood of this city. Today the side walks of the French Quarter and the surrounding areas are crowded with people and tourists are now flocking to this city by the thousands everyday. Help wanted signs are everywhere and the smell of delicious food is in the air, artists are working at drawing wonderful portraits and music is on every street corner. You cannot go anywhere without hearing the sound of some band or street musician performing for the public. Bourbon Street is crowded with men and woman seeking the endless varieties of entertainment that can only be found there. They close off the street at night and it is essentially one big block party from Canal Street to St. Ann Street. All nightlong the food, spirits, and music are there for the people to enjoy, the whole street is dedicated to pleasure and at times….well who knows? This is a city dedicated to pleasure and to culture; from the cooking schools to the five star theatres entertainment is here in abundance. New Orleans attracts the arts and artists like honey to bees, there are shops dedicated to almost every kind of art and antiquity. Royal Street is overflowing with antiques and master works of famous artists. Collectors come here from all over the world to purchase the fine art, which adores almost every shop window of the Royal Street Promenade. This is the most fascinating city in the world, it is completely unique, and we are proud as Americans that it is our city and we are happy that this wonderful place is back to the splendor which it once enjoyed. Of course there are still things, which need to be addressed like the Ninth Ward where reconstruction is still in the happening, but in time all the repairs in some of the worst hit areas will be finished and the only thing that Katrina will be is a memory. I have taken up residence here in the Crescent City's French Quarter and I am excited that I will be bringing you many stories about this great place. I can only imagine all the exciting things I will discover as I explore the shops, culture, food, and nightlife of New Orleans. As I am not a stranger to this place, beings that I have lived here for almost twenty years some time back, I know my way around this enchanting city and I can ferret out the good stories which I know we are all waiting to read.
|Hurricane Katrina over an U.S. highway|
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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”