August 29, 2013
Eight years ago today, I was stuck in Mobile, watching my beloved New Orleans drown. I’d never felt so helpless, huddled around a TV at a friend’s house, sleeping on a futon, not yet realizing that nothing would ever again be the same. I was regretting having left, as if somehow my being here would have helped.
I told a friend I was coming back that Wednesday. Ha. It took me 8 months to come home for good. Wednesday indeed.
But come home I did. I’d been looted, but that was OK. Those who took what they did clearly needed it more than I. My home was still standing, not too hurt. It’s still standing, and I’m still in it!
My first trip back was in November, for my birthday. It was my 29th, and I was damn sure I wasn’t going to usher in the last year of my 20s in Houston, where I’d ended up. I packed my dogs, we came home, and I lit candles and inspected damage. The city was post-apocalyptic, there’s no other word for it. It was desolate, destroyed, guarded by heavily armed men in uniform. It was awful, but it was also wonderful just to be back.
I had my dogs, I had a bottle of champagne or bourbon, and I had an unbreakable spirit. It’s the first time I really tapped into that sort of determination. I was home.
We came back, we rebuilt, we never stopped loving you, New Orleans. And we never will.