New Orleans Report, December 20, 2005

My pal, Tiger, and his bride, Lynda, are safely home in Metairie.  My visit marked the first month of their return.  He has regained mobility with the aid of a walker and is able to enjoy rationed cigars and martinis. His work has resumed, being presently conducted from the home.  She has returned to work, and has received a surprise promotion.  Their home is unscathed, their children and grandchildren safe and reunited.

Nearby the surrounding neighborhoods lie still amidst the sound of downed trees being ground into pulp, and the clamoring of backhoes scraping away debris.  The houses are abandoned in various stages of being gutted or repaired.  The high watermark often shows ominously above the tops of doors and windows.

In the evening it is eerily quiet in the flood-stricken areas. There are no lights or street lights, because there is no electricity.  There are no residents.  Life exists only in the daylight hours when workmen labor to clear the streets and sidewalks of debris ripped from the houses that were once homes.

No class was spared.  The modest bungalows fared no worse than the finest mansions.  All are ruined and will only be habitable again after extensive rebuilding.  Years may pass before these neighborhoods,that once looked like yours and mine, reclaim life.

Although I took my camera, I took no pictures. The despair and hopelessness I witnessed need no more record.