I was trying to download multiple pics to no avail (again!!!). So I summoned my inner Zen to corral the aggressive energy directed towards my AOL software. (Breathe, ohm, breathe).
The pic above is one of the many we have taken during our mini-vacation in New Orleans, LA and Biloxi, MS sometime in May this year. It took my son sometime to forward them to me. (I used his camera to take the pics because I forgot mine).
The French Quarter in New Orleans was business as usual and seem to have withstood Katrina's fury. The downtown area was bustling with tourists and hundreds of people partied at night on Bourbon Street. The familiar smells of Cafe du Monde's exhilarating coffee and sweet yeasty beignets and Chez Pierre's spicy gumbo and briny blackened seafood still permeate the air. The taste of the food was even better than I remember. I devoured a whole bag of warm and buttery kettle corn while shopping at the French Market. I ate my fill of oh-so-tasty-I-could-cry cajun food. The Garden district was intact save for a few homes that look like they were being renovated. The drive around the Garden district made me happy because the ancient stately homes were there and the cozy little neighborhood bistros were doing brisk business.
The surrounding areas, especially those subdivisions near the levee, were a different story. I cried the whole time we were viewing the affected neighborhoods because I can not seem to look at the devastation without feeling bad for the owners of the destroyed homes. I could not stop thinking of how they must have felt to come back to a ruined home and how scary it must have been to lose your home, your job, your community and some loved ones.
Biloxi, MS and the surrounding vicinities did not fare well either. It was heartbreaking to drive through familiar places and find that landmarks were swept in the ocean. I loved the little Welcome Center in the middle of all the high rise casinos but it was not there anymore. I loved looking at the southern grand dames of homes: the massive Tudor with a well tended lawn, the haughty Victorian with its intricate gingerbread details, the proud Federal with sculpted trees... I could go on forever describing these magnificent homes because there's no architecture like the decadent old architecture. I remember one with flying buttresses too. Most of these homes are gone forever. How I wished I took pictures of each and one of them so I can show my grandchildren how beautiful Biloxi used to be.
My heart breaks for the Louisiana and Mississippi people. Our trip to those areas made me realize that even though the media stopped reporting about the Katrina victims because there are more recent natural disasters around the US and the world, these people's sufferings are far from over.
Please count your blessings and remember the Katrina victims if you have the time or funds to spare.