If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem
But some people seem to have a lot of anger regarding our recovery efforts. They think we should be moving forward faster. Or perhaps not even attempt to rebuild the city. Some folks want us to give up completely.
They criticize everything from our elections of our politicians to our ways of coping with loss. And I really don't understand it. Why should they care what WE do? I don't write to the newspapers or bulletin boards of other cities and spew vitriole at them. Why do they get so worked up about us?
And no sense in refuting their claims or attempting to defend our choices. They seem very closed to any opinions other than their own. They are right and we are wrong and that's the way that is. Hmph.
My hope is that they would approach it with an open heart and an open mind. And consider what it might be like to lose everything and attempt to rebuild. From scratch.
Some of the things these people complain about are the priorities we seem to have in rebuilding and recovering. They complain because we had Mardi Gras. They complain because we had Jazz Fest. They complain because we repaired the Superdome and welcomed back the Saints. They complain because we look for reasons to celebrate.
Some folks think we need to spend more time on our infrastructure and less time on the extracurricular. And maybe so. But.
I first want to point out that New Orleans is a tourist town. We need, we depend on, the revenue those tourists bring. We have to do what it takes to get the tourists back and enourage them to spend their money here. And These are some of the activities the tourists WANT to experience.
That being said, I want to point out something else. Those activities in which we participate, well, those same activities also bring us joy and. And. AND. They are sorely needed, for, if only for a little while, they help us not think about what we've been through. What we've lost. And how hard we need to work just to get close to where we were before.
Because we have lost so very very much.
Last month, my cousin, after having met his nephew at a restaurant for lunch, drove to an abandoned area of the city, parked his car, put a shot-gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
We really don't know why. We can surmise though. Since the Hurricane, he had been working very long hours. On a daily basis, he had to deal with other people's losses in addition to his own. It's overwhelming really. What we have to do here.
The other day, one of my most beloved friends told me that she feels like jumping off a bridge. She doesn't really know why. We can surmise though. Since the Hurricane, she has had to deal with the loss of her old life, starting a new life over from scratch, all the while trying to make the two mesh. And still handle the regular activities of daily living with a husband and two kids.
Have I mentioned how overwhelming it is?
Yes, it's one year later. Yes, perhaps we should be further along. But we aren't. And all of the complaining and whining and bitching can't change it. We have to take time to remember what living is like. The funny parts. The joyous parts. The parts that make it all worthwhile. You know... the stop and smell the roses parts.
And now we so very desperately need some semblance of what brought happiness into our old lives.
The city bears scars that will take years, if not decades, to heal. Our hearts bear scars they will carry for a lifetime.
Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?
G'mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.
Atreyu: What is the Nothing?
G'mork: It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world.
The NeverEnding Story (1984)