Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving...

So, I left town without hanging the "Gone Fishin'" sign here at the blog. We headed south last Sunday for a nice holiday in Louisiana. I hope that everyone had a great holiday.

Happy Anniversary to us!
wedding pic 2Yesterday, marked our one year anniversary. I've never been one to over celebrate silly milestones. I don't remember when exactly we met or the actual date of our first date. I'm pretty sure it was in January. But anyway, we celebrated while we were in Louisiana with dinner at Le Crepe Nanou in New Orleans and a trip to one of my favorite New Orleans haunts for a pint (for me) and a dozen raw oysters (for him). Our actual anniversary was spent in the car driving. We celebrate the paper anniversary by having our breakfast and lunch served on paper. Nothing says romantic like a Subway lunch in a truckstop.

Thanksgiving Recap
Right after Hurricane Katrina, we were glued to the news. We watched and read everything we could about what was going on. But then, like most people who are out of the affected area, we sort of lost touch with what was going on. The story sort of lost its newsworthiness in the national media, for some reason. So, we weren't exactly sure of what we would see whenwe got down there. Well, things were much worse than we ever imagined. You've seen the pictures of the damage, right? Well, it doesn't even touch the enormity of the destruction, the gravity of the suffering, or the heavy cloud that lingers over the entire area. It's been 3 months, and in some areas life has returned to a new normal. People go on with their holiday shopping. But just a few miles from the bustling mall and the overcrowded restaurants are blocks upon blocks of homes with standing water lines well over the first floor, a pile of debris three stories high, and an overwhelming stench of rotting wood and mold. In St. Bernard Parish, we saw a home that had been ripped from its lot with the concrete foundation still intact. The house had floated blocks from its lot, turned a corner, and is now resting in the middle of the street. I had intended to take some pictures so that I could show people just how enromous the destruction was, but I was too overwhelmed to even start and something about it just didn't seem right. But, I will tell you that the what you've seen in the media is only a fraction of the devastation.

french quarter doorThere are areas of the city which were relatively unscathed by the hurricane. The damage in these areas - namely Uptown and the French Quarter - was relatively minimal and life is getting back to normal. But the French Quarter, which is usually loud and bustling with tourists is extremely quiet. Many stores and restaurants are closed, because the depopulation of the city has led to major labor shortages. I'm sure the city will fully recover, but it will never be the same city and it will take years and years to recover at all. But, I was certainly moved by everything I saw, and I have a new appreciation for the force of Mother Nature. Everyone we met had a hurricane story, and each story is tragic in its own way. In some ways, seeing devastation provides a life altering perspective on what is really important.

Despite the hurricane damage, we had a great holiday with our family, and left the state delightfully full and thankful for everything we have.

We did manage to have beignets at Cafe du Monde. We heard that after the storm they stayed close to do some cleaning and renovation. We were concerned that this might impact the taste of the beignets, but we were wrong.
empty cafe du monde
at cafe du monde 2
If you look closely, we are posing behind these beignets. It was getting dark, and the self-timer just didn't quite take the picture I was hoping for.

Nearly every house in the area has a blue tarp or is currently undergoing roof repair due to the winds or falling trees. I've always thought that the train set at the mall down there was so cute, because it featured shotgun houses and didn't look like the ones up here. So despite the snow, which is just strange, it was interesting to see that whoever set the trains up this year remembered to document Katrina.
No Christmas Scene 2 NO Christmas Scene

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