My childhood home and all my worldly possessions drowned in
2005, the city of New Orleans required
citizens to evacuate for the first time in history, so we left. Katrina
blew, came, and went. Then the levees failed, and our beloved city
drowned. Like many, my family home was newly renovated. Thought I
was grown. Went from 1910 metal cabinets to wood with bamboo floors and
granite countertops. It's all gone, including my 5000-book library, a
life-time of collecting books of art from photography to sculpture,
literature--some first editions, religious studies and holy books of all kinds,
children's books, now out-of-print magazines with precious intellectual and
cultural history. Also, unpublished manuscripts and research drowned.
This is where my brother and I were born,
bought by my Dad on the G-I bill post World War II. He was a Sargent in
the Army and saved many magazines from the war including one Army tabliod that
published a poem of his entitled "The Sea." My Dad was also a writer
of letters for anyone who needed them, to get precious Social Security, or to
save a job, or to contact a relative long gone from the area; he never turned
anyone away, always helping. As his caregiver late in his life, he reminded me
that I was not the first writer in the family, of course.
After spending thousands of dollars to gut my home as required, it was the plaster and lath holding it up. The extensive termite damage and $125,000 estimate to elevate made keeping it not effective, so I made the hard decision to demolish and rebuild new on the same site. It's half up now, and will blog to share progress. Just want to get home.
While Louisiana sustained severe damage, we were the only state that did not get replacement value for our homes, plus we were the only state required to use personal insurance, and the companies stiffed us. Then, many folks received nothing or little; and what little we received did not translate in today's terms. I'm determined to get home this year by the Grace of God!
My footprints are on the sidewalk. Some
neighbors are gone to glory. Some still present in my life, and I'm
thankful to see our neighborhood return.