This is what my street in New Orleans looks like these days. We went the Thursday after Christmas because my parents finally had a Road Home person coming to count rooms and take measurements to then send to Baton Rouge while we wait, yet again, to see how much money they’ll give us to rebuild elsewhere. My parents are set on not rebuilding and I don’t blame them. The first time I returned to my house was over Mardi Gras and it was a sunny day and some people were out and about looking positive about things. On this trip, however, the weather was grey and several homes on our street had been demolished. There were either vacant lots of land or shells of the homes that once were. Not a soul was in sight and the thought of returning to that, or worse yet, living in a FEMA trailer in front of your former home, is so depressing. I can’t believe the strength of the friends I know who do it every day.
This visit made me realize that while I used to feel guilty for not being there to help or clean up or spend money to fuel the economy, I now feel guilty for not wanting to return to my old neighborhood. I cried the whole time I was on my street, although I hid it from my parents. AC and I took a walk and that’s when I let the tears come down. We walked to a Burger King that was open but we were the only customers. I couldn’t imagine being one of the workers there who knows that the only people who stop in are just passing through. The University of New Orleans is right across the street so I’m sure when school is in session that business is better, but when you stop to think of everything that was there before and all of the people who traveled those streets and realize that once night falls, there’s not a soul in sight, that’s just so scary and sad at the same time.
Maybe I am being too negative, but with all of the crime happening in NOLA now, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to visit, much less live.
Still, some of the friends I have who are living there are flourishing and there is a job I’ve got my eye on. I guess I’ll wait to see if I need to make a decision.