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rebirth and hurricane season begins 
  marathoner452
 
10:25pm 02/06/2008
  This was my original post to this community more than 2 years ago:

"It was time. It was meant to be. From the day I started working at the Red Cross way up here in Maryland, I knew I had to come see you. I started work on August 29th, 2005. While I screened many people for deployment in the days and weeks after, I didn't get to come see you myself, not until three weeks ago. I was sitting in my office the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1st, when in walks Judy, my Emergency Services director. "Do you want to go to New Orleans for 3 weeks?" When do I have to let you know? "In the next 10 minutes." Just like that, bam, I was there less than 2 days later. The following morning, I was out on a feeding truck in the lower 9th ward seeing the devastation firsthand. Life comes at you fast, as I'm sure you know.

So dear nola, you have given me the experience of a lifetime and I hope I have given you something back. I have seen your spirit in your people, working daily to rebuild their lives, their homes, their communities, their city. I can recall the moment I knew you would come back. I was talking with a resident of Violet out in St. Bernard's Parish about kids riding bikes, and flowers, and mowing the lawn. I told him how inspiring it is to see such things because it's a sign that people have time and energy to care about the little things, that they have pride their parish and hope for the future. Here's what he said back to that. This was the kicker.

"Katrina ain't killin' nothin'"

That's so true. That's why I believe in you and will fight to make sure you're rebuilt stronger and better than ever before. Anyone who can say that money would be wasted on levees or community revitalization has surely never gotten their hands dirty serving hot jambalaya and snack bags and comfort kits to your people, has surely never eaten etouffee or beignets in the French Quarter, has surely never skipped down Bourbon Street after too many hurricanes to drink.

I just got back from my first visit to see you, and you know I'll be back. I believe in you and love you too much to stay away."

I have lived in the Bywater, the ninth ward, in New Orleans for almost a year now.  I am not so naive these days but I don't love New Orleans any less.  I'm going to be an elementary special education teacher in the fall and to do that I've accepted a scholarship that commits me to three years of teaching in New Orleans.  I had no second thoughts about making that commitment, and no second thoughts either last week when I bought a fleur de lis ring to wear where most would wear a wedding ring. 

I'm not going anywhere.
 
     Post
 
 
  versailles_rose
 
01:26pm 19/12/2007
 
mood: nostalgic
Dear Nola.
Just a note to tell you that I'm still thinking about you. ♥

Love,
Me
 
     Post
 
 
  nolaradcheer
 
01:45am 14/02/2007
  COME JOIN OUR SQUAD! ALL AGES ALL SEXES! MEETING EVERY SUNDAY AT CITY PARK AND SOLOMON AT 1PM IN MIDCITY. PEACE!
 
     Post
 
Rebuilding... 
  heartlessinla
 
03:19pm 04/12/2006
  Getting home and rebuilding has been a long struggle and it continues to be. All of this will take time, prayers and the will of its current and past citizens. Its always obvious who the true are when it comes to politicans...  
     Post
 
Rebuild New Orleans 
  newmoondarkmoon
 
01:08am 25/11/2006
  Hello Dear Nola Writers,

This letter is not to the city. It is to you guys. The people who live here and care about the city and the ones who can't be here.

Many people have said that we have a chance here to make the city better than it was before.

But I feel like I can not make my ideas heard because I'm not and architect or an engineer or a construction worker or a biologist or an ecologist. And my ideas are not being heard so I wanted to see if anyone else felt that way or had ideas I did not think of. Since this site isn't really being used to write letters anymore I wanted to see if any of you are still checking in here and wanted to do this or if there are any sites where people are already doing this.
I find the forums on nola.com a bit of a pain.

Okay so an idea I had the other day was to take some of these brinks that have either been abandoned or crumbled to the ground and use them to fill in some of these monster pot holes that threaten to unexpectedly eat you car. Break up the brinks fill them in what ever it takes done deal.

If anybody has any feed back or ideas they want to share let me know.
 
     Post
 
 
  desertfaith
 
01:25pm 02/11/2006
  i miss you
my city

my past

i cannot deny you
i will not choose to, i
will always love you
i will always choose to love you
as intensely as i can.

that may be the only freedom left.
 
     Post
 
You loved me in return. 
  inkedquill
 
08:42pm 19/10/2006
  I have loved you my entire life. When still in my mother's womb I would dance to your lively music and excite for your spicy foods. And I have no doubts, NOLA, that you have given me love in return. Love in the form of friendly strangers, charming anecdotes as told by locals in the bars, noisy streets, shotgun houses, wrought iron fences, roman candy, streetcars, family-friendly suburbs, decadence, art houses, museums, and sporting events. You have shown me love in shading my picnics and book readings under your enormous oaks. You have shown me love in harboring my secret nights of dancing, drinking and cab rides home. You stole my heart and ruined me for any other city.

In return, I will fight for you. Fight for your chance to second-line. Fight for your chance to create amazing music. A single storm can not break your spirit. We have become one, you and I. Melded into a single waxen lady. We are a poor city, yes. But we are also a proud city. We believe life is to be lived to the fullest extent it will allow. Our people live here their whole life and become not a part of the city, but the city itself. You are our brothers and sisters America. Washington DC, you are our father and mother. Do not turn your back on your prodigal child just as she turns to you for a comforting hand. Embrace her and she will endear herself to you.

Faithfully...
 
     Post
 
 
  versailles_rose
 
12:05pm 29/08/2006
 
mood: sad
Dear NoLa,

I haven't forgotten you. You're the hometown of my heart. Each day my thoughts turn to you, each night you haunt my dreams.

 
     Post
 
 
  desertfaith
 
02:25am 29/08/2006
  i miss you i miss you i miss you

take me back home.
 
     Read 2 - Post
 
Broken hearted Breakup 
  newmoondarkmoon
 
11:42pm 15/04/2006
  How could you do this to me
to us
Just when the pieces were coming together
just when we were almost safe from falling apart you open your doors and let her in
that monster
the one who wanted only to steall your soul and suck you drie
and kill our sweet children
we were so close to happyness

oh you knowi do not blame you
not really
i am just angry
and don't know in which dirrection to through this pain
i only know it can not liv in me anymore
i want to through it out to the sea and to the sky
send it back from wence it came
it is eating my heart with platnum plated teeth

but oh love
that is not your concern how self ish how foolish
i have been to not see what we have on the large scale
your children sleeping in tents in city park
your homes reduced to a pile of splintered building blocks with a big triangle one on top

those fucking blue tarps everywhere you look
living in a house next to a pile of splinters we wonder why ours is still standing

yes i have come to you since you betrayed me
since you betrayed us
i slept inside you all night long
and awoke in the more to feel your golden rays smiling down on my fresh skin
still i had to leave you once more
my fears consume me
how can i trust you will not desert me again
i want to trust you to be;ieve you to believe inyou
i want to do everything i can to make you feel strong again
but i am only a child and i am affraid
it is as simple as that

you always protected me though
on dark nights with lurking figures in the shadows you never let them touch me
you never let me be hurt

not until now

maybe you couldn't help it
you were compelled to openyour doors to her
to open them to another
spreadyour legs wide and take it in deep
you had been faithful for so many years and they all wanted you

oh my love how could i hold it against you
i can not
i blame the other
she fooled you
you werenot prepared for what she brought
i know you didn't want to see our children starve and suffer
our home destroyed
our beautiful and meaningful momentos devoured
never to be seen again and when she came on strong and toppled our favorite tree i know that you wept as i did
 
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dear nola 
  desertfaith
 
06:05pm 10/04/2006
 
mood: nostalgic
I don't know how to make it in the promised land.
Hmm, or is it Babylon? I will never know
the name of this City.

Is there a demon in her arms,
gallivanting, dancing where the sea is most high?

What will I find in you...left are my dreams
oh sister, my City, my coven, my clan
my covenant land
Let me stay in you!!!

Oh you of bright and marble skies
Bright and blue and gold,
a home for seraphs
six winged, many eyed, soaring aloft they cry
Holy Holy Holy

When will I find myself here?
Can I but wish you to my longing?
Can I come? Please let me come
and rest you in my arms, City. Great is the sea
and far and wide but she
will come and call my heart
to her. I remember angela
I sat many days at your feet
dreaming of heaven, knowing that New Orleans
was only breaths away. Heavy breathing
of the spirit which drew me here,
into Jesus' arms.

When will the calling be? When will I return
if Ever? I cannot believe
that Jesus would give me a place would give me me
and then say to that place
I will wash you away
wash you away
wash you in the streams of my tears

Jesus come and wrap me in your cloak.
Let the colors now anoint the fallen.
We who are weak need your care. New Orleans
is a falling City, but she will get up. An earthly home
For individuals who love God
and neighbor. Oh trusted friend and home,
let me come and paint your streets
with Joy. Let me sing as in days of old
But with new life. Let me come to you
in spring, for it is spring.
the summer is too far
but even then
sultry heat of your numbing spotless love I'd take
and fallen falling in love with you
I would embrace your sunshine.
 
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i feel blue 
  plumblossom03
 
11:11pm 03/04/2006
  i never thought i would understand the meaning of that statement
but that is what i feel
a weight on my heart
a cloud over my head
the ridiculous feeling -- as if i am waiting
waiting to leave here
waiting to go home to you
from this unwanted journey

how can you describe how it feels
stuck in a hospital during those desperate nights
cut off from the world
hearing news -- bits and pieces
of the chaos and terror outside
wondering
when will you see your loved ones again
when will this night ever end
when will you be able to leave this godforsaken place
will life ever be as it was before?

how can you describe
trying to fall asleep at night
not knowing what tomorrow may bring
only to be awakened by someone
summoning you to help
"we must evacuate the babies from the NICU"
to run down the pitch black hallways
with a tiny bundle of life in your arms
to the roof
where is the helicopter?
"they are not coming... someone is shooting at them"

how can you describe
those dark hallways
hallways that used to be full of light
full of smiles
from fellow coworkers
friends
new orleanians
now turned into mazes
relying on just your memory
of where each hallway turned

can i describe?
how i felt when i finally left?
finally evacuated?
the rush to pack our cars
we made a caravan for safety
we heard the rumors -- of killings, carjackings
we didn't know what was true
we drove out
not stopping for no one, nothing
raced down magazing street
around downed power lines
majestic old oak trees that had fallen or split

it is still surreal to me
i can picture that day
and it seems as though i am watching a movie
a movie with me in it

i keep driving
over the bridge
over the mississippi river
i see people hiking over the bridge
as if it were just a leisurely stroll
i see houses below
with no roofs
i see smoke everywhere
from houses and building burning
yet the city lay empty
a forgotten city

i keep driving
i pass other caravans
of volunteer policemen, firemen, national guard
it brings tears to my eyes
maybe not forgotten?

i keep driving
over bayous and swamps
so surreal
all the trees were lying flat on the ground
as though a bomb had exploded
i can't even imagine
how thick a forest they were before

14 hours i drove
on what should have been a 6 hour drive
i waited in line for gas
for 2 hours
almost fought with another woman
who threatened to run me over
if i didn't let her skip in front of me
can you imagine?
at a time like this
people threw out all decency and respect
i was ashamed for her
it made me sick

but i made it home
to the arms of my family
my family who didn't understand me
could not relate
didn't know what to say
"it's just stuff"
but it's not just stuff that was lost
it was MY stuff
My life

in two days
everything i had worked for
was lost
the first life i had made
truly on my own
was gone

so now
every day
i feel blue
because i miss it
what i had
what i used to do
the friends i had made
the job that i loved
the memories i had made

how can i describe
how sad i am?
how empty i feel?
how hopeless that i will never shake this?
sad that this happened
sad to say goodbye
sad that i can't seem to move on
sad that right now
no matter how hard i am trying to live life again
to be happy
and give this new place a chance
am i fooling myself?
or is this normal?

i want to get past this
i want to live life again
i want to move on
but i also want to remember...
so what do i do?
let go or hold on?

maybe i'll just go to sleep
and tell myself what i've been telling myself
for the past 7 months
tomorrow is a new day
maybe tomorrow things will be better
maybe tomorrow i won't think about it all
maybe tomorrow everything will be ok
 
     Read 4 - Post
 
Renew Orleans 
  marathoner452
 
01:09pm 25/03/2006
 
mood: indescribable
It was time. It was meant to be. From the day I started working at the Red Cross way up here in Maryland, I knew I had to come see you. I started work on August 29th, 2005. While I screened many people for deployment in the days and weeks after, I didn't get to come see you myself, not until three weeks ago. I was sitting in my office the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1st, when in walks Judy, my Emergency Services director. "Do you want to go to New Orleans for 3 weeks?" When do I have to let you know? "In the next 10 minutes." Just like that, bam, I was there less than 2 days later. The following morning, I was out on a feeding truck in the lower 9th ward seeing the devastation firsthand. Life comes at you fast, as I'm sure you know.

So dear nola, you have given me the experience of a lifetime and I hope I have given you something back. I have seen your spirit in your people, working daily to rebuild their lives, their homes, their communities, their city. I can recall the moment I knew you would come back. I was talking with a resident of Violet out in St. Bernard's Parish about kids riding bikes, and flowers, and mowing the lawn. I told him how inspiring it is to see such things because it's a sign that people have time and energy to care about the little things, that they have pride their parish and hope for the future. Here's what he said back to that. This was the kicker.

"Katrina ain't killin' nothin'"

That's so true. That's why I believe in you and will fight to make sure you're rebuilt stronger and better than ever before. Anyone who can say that money would be wasted on levees or community revitalization has surely never gotten their hands dirty serving hot jambalaya and snack bags and comfort kits to your people, has surely never eaten etouffee or beignets in the French Quarter, has surely never skipped down Bourbon Street after too many hurricanes to drink.

I just got back from my first visit to see you, and you know I'll be back. I believe in you and love you too much to stay away.

~Bethany
 
     Read 6 - Post
 
support NOLA 
  ladylamia
 
11:58am 18/03/2006
 
mood: hopeful
i hope this is ok to post here, i thought you guys would be interested!

i just got this email from NOW: Katrina Survivors Need Your HelpCollapse )
 
     Post
 
 
  marcikay
 
01:25am 17/03/2006
  i wonder,
am i doomed to always be this way when i get drunk.
am i doomed to always talk about new orleans and how it will never be the same.
am i doomed to always feel like i've been a part of something that has died.
am i doomed to always recount stories that have become a huge part of who i am that have no relevance to anyone that is listening.
am i always going to talk about how "you" can never understand what it means to watch your home be destroyed.
am i always going to wonder if it is better to have loved and lost rather than to not have loved at all.
am i always going to think about how things were and how things now, no matter how good they get will never be as good.

i hate it. i love it.
i feel.
it scares me how much i feel sometimes. no one is meant to feel this much. i'm in love with something that is gone. something that i'll never have again. something i took for granted so many times.
what the fuck am i supposed to do. i feel like i am constantly writing a love letter in my head to someone i know will never read it.

i don't know what to do anymore. i give up. you win. you had me at hello. and goodbye. forever. my love. my heart. my home.
 
     Read 12 - Post
 
Looking for displaced New Orleanians. 
  maozed
 
11:08pm 06/03/2006
  In reading Dear NoLa, I have seen many people who feel strongly about New Orleans and the culture surrounding it. As such, I felt that it would be the perfect place to post this request. Feel free to remove if this type of post not allowed.
I am a student looking to conduct a survey of New Orleanians who were displaced by the hurricane and currently live outside New Orleans. The survey is only a few questions long and will be conducted by email. If you’d be willing to help me out by answering just a few questions, please send an email to maozed at gmail dot com letting me know that you would like to participate. I would really appreciate your help.
 
     Post
 
 
  dovefeathers
 
04:14pm 15/01/2006
  Dear Nola,

So we're reunited now, after that brief tryst in the middle of october, and it's good to see that you're doing a little better. The other day, the ferry was even full, and I called a friend to tell him about that little bit of progress. I have to admit, I've been second guessing you a little, and I'm sorry. It's just hard being here away from my family and everyone. And work! Work has been very hard. We hardly ever get to spend time alone together lately. Friday at the Spotted Cat was wonderful, though. And that second line today. You have such a warm, sunny disposition, and even when I can't find much time for you, you never hold a grudge, you just greet me and embrace me.

I promise you I won't waste any more time. I need to follow my heart, and find a way to break out of my old habbits. I know anything is possible with you. I know I can do better, treat you better, do more to help, and spend more time outside of that warehouse, alone, working my soul away. Just promise me you'll believe in me, and not rain on me like you did on thursday. I was very cold, and trying to ride my bike with the water pouring into my eyes, I felt so betrayed. But this is when the honeymoon ends, I guess. Time to have a real relationship, and that means compromises and trust.

My mom is on the phone, so I'd better go. But I'll write more later.

Love,
Ari
 
     Post
 
my love, heal. thrive. 
  ladylamia
 
09:08pm 20/12/2005
 
mood: nostalgic
dear nola,
i've thought a lot about what i was going to write to you. tried to think of a way not to repeat all the things i've said to you over the years. i suppose you don't mind if i say the same things over and over, as long as it is with love that i say them?

the thing is, i think i was destined to fall for you before birth even. my father joined the airforce when he was a young man. he was stationed in coastal mississippi. biloxi i think, the details get hazy since this was many decades before i was even considered let alone conceived. he fell for you first, traveling the short miles into your french quarter, listening to the jazz greats at preservation hall. drinking on bourbon street with his buddies. when my parents got married they honeymooned with you, eating at the court of two sisters. i remember the stories since before i have memories of my own. my mother was only 20 then, my father 28. it would be eleven years before i was born.

for some reason my father decided that mississippi would be a good place to raise children, perhaps even before he met my mother. i was born just outside another huge city, washington DC. soon we moved to indianapolis where my sister was born, still my father ached for the south. i think perhaps, as i have aged and gotten to know the sadness that comes from being apart from you, he ached for you. when i was four we moved to vicksburg, mississippi. i've often said the only good thing about growing up there is that i was only 3 hours away from you.

i can't remember the first time we met. i suppose i was so young that it was before memories really stick with a person. all of my greatest childhood memories happened within your watchful eye. though i never got to be with you except in short visits, i considered myself to be a "local" because if i had a choice at twelve years old on where i could live i would've been there with you in the blink of an eye. birthdays, aniversaries, long weekends, holidays, my family always spent them with you. my 13th birthday wandering around the french market with my two best friends, they had never been to visit you before. my wedding night, i could have spent it nowhere else, it would not have been right. for the man i was marrying knew he was always going to be 2nd to you. i've often said if i could feel for a person even half as much as i feel for you then i'd know what forever tastes like. perhaps it tastes like chicory coffee and the spicy gumbo that burns my tongue so sweetly.

when i was ten or eleven i saw all the punk kids on the streets, i didn't realize they were homeless. i thought they were so cool and i wanted to grow up to be just like them. when i was a teenager i didn't fit in the small town where i was living. sort of punk, sort of goth, queer, i felt alone except for when i could sink into the familiarity and comfort of your embrace. it's still the only place that i haven't felt out of place, the only place that has truly felt like "home". it was one place where people didn't stare at me. i longed to run away, to burrow into your secret places and forget that there was a world outside. i always expected when i turned eighteen i would move and finally we would be together. life has other plans. 7 years later and i am still longing for you.

i find that there is a bond that is instanteous with others who love you as i do. one christmas night with my sister's college chum, bridget and we were lost in your streets. we drank in a tiny joint with a bartender who looked just like bette paige. though i had just met her we were instant friends, joined by our mutual admiration for you, our desire to be with you. i speak with people who have never met you and i'm shocked, i wonder how they can live? i talk about you so much people who don't know me well think that i am a native of New Orleans. i read books just because they are set there, just to feel close to you again. i ache for you.

i spent days glued to the television, internet, cell phone dialing over and over and over; hearing that message "due to hurricane katrina your call cannot be completed..." finding who had gotten out and where they had went, learning they were ok. watching the local news, reading journals of those who had decided to stay. i watched because everyone that was there was as dear to me as my own family. i watched because even though i knew you'd survive i wanted to make sure i saw it with my own eyes. people at work came up, asked how i was doing, asked how you were. i tried to be strong. i wanted to run to you, cry and apologize for moving hundreds of miles away when really i should've been there. i should've been with you. i should've been with my brothers and sisters evacuating, or huddled in the superdome.

i never doubted that you would survive, but i feared the worst. now i pray that you'll heal quickly, that your children will rebuild, that we will not look and see what the huricane did to you but see only those familiar places that have comforted us for all our lives.

wait for me. i'm coming. one day we'll be together, until then know that you're always with me, inside me. no one could ever take your place. i close my eyes and i'm there, on the sidewalk. i feel the air against my skin humid and heavy; take the scents into my nostrils - the stench, the sweet cloying odors swirling together making me feel sick one second and hungry the next; the girls calling to their friends, the boys calling to the girls. the hum of canal, the roar of the quarter, the music coming from every corner, the cars honking, that is your own kind of jazz isn't it? i'm there, drinking a cup of coffee motionless, watching the crowd merge and part around the square, in my heart i'm home.
 
     Post
 
Dear NoLa, 
  marcikay
 
03:27pm 20/12/2005
  today, after class i went to see my dad at work. he said i had a gift from my brother and melissa and i should pick it up. so i went. i decided to open it there since it is always better to open gifts with people rather than at home alone. so, i open the box and it is a wrapped CD from amazon.com. sweet, i think to myself, maybe it is like david bowie or something. so i open it. and it isn't bowie, or ANYTHING else i would've guessed. it is a new orleans tribute album. i immediately burst into tears. my dad started freaking out, got me some tissue, shut the door, etc...
it is amazing.

i was on the verge of tears for the rest of the way home, except for when i mistakenly decided to try to read the liner notes on the bart ride to berkeley. yeah, i cried on a full bart train. i didn't care who saw me. it needed to happen.

i am going to listen to my new CD at work tonight, and i'll try not to cry. again.

i miss you.
 
     Post
 
hello. First post. 
  flamingjune07
 
05:12pm 11/12/2005
  Dear New Orleans,

I've been thinking about you ever since I left, but especially in these past few months. I'm sorry I've been unable to really express myself to you; the depth and complexity of my feelings of late have not lent themselves to words. But I will try.

I tumbled into your warm, musky arms when I was barely even 5 years old. You became my home, my playground, and in a sense my mother almost immediately. I walked your humid streets and climbed all your trees. I grew on your swampy soil and drank of your murky waters. You cradled the child I was in the deep recesses of the earth until I grew strong and emerged. Even though I had to leave 10 years later, I carry remnants of you in my very bones. Now, after 7 years, the rest of the world still seems a little bland and alien to me.

I was appalled by Katrina. We all knew it would happen eventually, but when it did, it was just as much a horror, a wrong, like seeing someone strike your mother. In a week, I will be visiting once again, this time with tools and friends and first aid and anything else my meager means can pull together to try to repair the damage done. I know there's no way I alone can really do much, but I hope this little something will be enough.

Yours always,
-Rebecca
 
     Post