Because of my recent Gulf Coast posts, I wanted to give you the perspective from someone who survived Katrina, aka "The Thing". I asked two of my New Orleanian (Orleanean?) friends, John and Linda Dietrich, to write about their thoughts, post-The Thing.
What Linda sent me was beautiful, touching, and amazing. I remember speaking to her while they were relocated in Houston. She was near tears all the time and there wasn't anything I could do to help. Reading this, I realize I don't ask enough about how's it going, and I am extremely sorry for that. I hope that this letter was somehow cathartic for her and John.
On SHELTER, I will only post the parts pertaining to my questions about the rebuilding of New Orleans' damaged areas. However, I strongly suggest you read the whole letter here, on my other blog. These are her words.
There are still people living in FEMA trailers. People are still waiting to figure out how to rebuild and with what money. For all the billions of dollars poured into NOLA, it is definitely going to take more.
There are also plenty of abandoned houses, overgrown lots, and homeless people. Changes will be made.
This has turned into a rant. It's hard to talk about the way you feel without getting overly emotional. I still can't watch clips of Katrina's aftermath without feeling as if my heart will literally shatter into a million pieces. Sometimes, I can't even drive by houses with water lines still on them without feeling slightly defeated. Other days, when the sun is shining, and I see a few houses sitting repaired and pristine among the wreckage, I feel the infinite joy of watching the miracle of birth and the resilience of the human spirit and know that everything will be just fine. It's only going to take time.