so, i’m sitting in the office of a comfort in in baton rouge. there are about 30 of us…a little less…but about that. combined we have two hotel rooms and a confrence room – a lot of cots and sleeping bags and nervous energy.

of course, about a day and a half ago we were a pretty well oiled machine cranking out applicants and updates for fema. it felt good to be helping. it wasn’t always good news that we gave, but we gave it with honesty and compassion and that beats unknowing and unrealistic expectations.

at that same time we were also living in the french quarter.

you read that right. not in a hotel but in…on…around the french quarter. in a huge tent city complete with mobile shower units, porta potties, kitchen trailers and yes…tents. big white tents set up rather uncerimoniously near the river.

i don’t know why that fact is interesting to me. i guess because it is something few people will experience in person…a deserted new orleans. cars deserted and water marked at their roofs wedged against curbs where owners left them. a boat haphazardly blown or maybe floated into the middle of canal street where the trollies ususally run. and a reason to smile, the homeless woman who hangs posts herself on broad street right off of canal – still dressed in layers and layers of black sweat clothes and wool hat and i think gloves. somehow through all of this she managed to be in the same place i left her weeks ago. still a little surly – i’ve never seen her smile.

she was the only person i saw in the new orleans i know. away from the bars and tourist haunts…the places seemingly untouched by looters.

i didn’t get to drive far…mostly i drove to my apartment. stared in awe even the second time, amazed by just how demolished it was – less by an act of God and more by an act or acts of man.

still, that is so far from me now. hunkered down in baton rouge while the wind picks herself up and beats her bad feelings against windows and doors and then seemingly forgives herself and cries only quietly – only to be enraged again and flail and scream and weep wildly. tomorrow is another day…another hurricane. and mybe by monday it will be another day for me to do some work.

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1 Comment on a step back

  1. Jon says:

    greetings stranger- i signed up for this service strictly to keep in touch, w/ you. consider yourself lucky. im on gmail & myspace because I AM A BALLA. you are not @ alla balla. and i am a hipster. you are not at alla hipsta. now that ive insulted you i feel better abt the world. holla @ ya lad.

    this is jon, btw.

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