…or the garden district, or even downtown – haphazard as the rebuilding and rejuvenation of downtown is. midcity approaches it but nothing i’ve seen so far comes close to the 9th ward.

today i did some volunteer work in the ward. driving across the industrial canal i thought i was prepared. i wasn’t. driving was difficult because my head was pivoting…checking out dilapidated houses, broken windows, boards, and general disrepair. it moves you to do that.

and in my head i find myself saying what i say so often here…its been a year and a half.

as it turns out the volunteer work wasn’t the best match for me. very well meaning people beautifying a school in the middle of a demolished neighborhood. and while i understand that the kids (the 400 that will be back in that building sometime in march) should see something beautiful…i can’t help but question the people standing around and nitpicking over which shrub should go where and what bar of the fence it should be lined up with.

the donating body was glad trash bags…so there was lots of posturing too. and i understand the necessity of that – big business has to get something to want to do something…

still…i found myself staring across the street at the empty homes staring back. me and another guy saw some men loading a pile of debris from the median into a huge compactor truck. we offered our services but they told us a machine was coming to do it. two hours later and their standing around turned back into hauling branches and chunks of concrete i couldn’t help but think i would have felt more productive if i’d helped them out instead.

i guess it goes back to my feelings from when we evacuated from fema for rita and ended up helping out in an animal shelter…my thought is people above pets…and now people above plants…but i guess it all feeds into the big picture…eventually.

just so you know though, if people try to tell you the NO is all better…remember that NO isn’t, and even if it was, NO isn’t everything. there is still a whole lot of hurting going on.

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