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Archive for January 17th, 2011

 

“Yes, a dark time passed over this land, but now there is something like light.”
Dave Eggers (Zeitoun)

 

I can’t bring myself to leave the city.  It’s a beautiful Monday, blue skies, 65 degrees, and a holiday: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  A perfect day in New Orleans!  After having a chilly invigorating walk in Audubon Park, I enjoyed a filling lunch at Capdeville with Katherine complete with truffle parmesan fries and tomato fennel soup.  We walked over from her 24th floor office on Poydras.

Now, I have stopped on Maple Street where, between 2003 and 2008, I would hang out with Maggie when she was attending Loyola.  Maple Street is alive today with young women walking in their leggings and boots, an Asian woman with a baby in a front pouch, and couples walking their dogs.  The line at Starbucks was too long, so I am sitting with my laptop feeling quite in-place on the patio. 

New Orleans is alive again, and it fills me with joy.  In the park this morning, there were walkers, runners, and cyclists young and old.  The huge oaks offered shade and shapes to the path.  The pond was noisy with egrets, ibis, ducks, and geese.  The street cars were running side by side ringing their bells to say hello.  On this mild winter day, New Orleans is a city renewed.

When Maggie was beginning her junior year at Loyola, she never made it back to her apartment on Napoleon.  Instead, she packed suitcases full and flew to New York City to attend Fordham University in the Bronx.  I was comforted by the friendly faces that embraced her with caring, but on the lonely flight home, I cried.  I wept for the daughter far away in a strange place, and I wept for the drowned city that I loved.  A few months later, Jeff and I drove to her apartment that had survived the flood to pack up her stuff left there.  My heart was heavy as we negotiated abandoned streets and rotting refrigerators.  The city even smelled rotten and felt hollow, in mourning.

Five years later, another daughter is living here, uptown in a much nicer duplex.  Katherine has become quite the professional woman navigating the streets like a pro and talking about the growing advertising business.  Even though the streets are still bumpy with potholes, I am enjoying the cool breeze, the activity of the day off, and the resurrection of a lost city. 

 

 Audubon Pond with flying ibis.

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