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Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

27 August 2015

Ten years after

We left.

We did our part for the neighborhood—we rebuilt, and we rebuilt quickly; I worked on a committee that applied for a revitalization grant for our shopping area; we exchanged contractors' names with everyone we knew and met—but we left New Orleans.

Dad indulges my attempt to save the fridge, but Drosophila and mold thwarted me.
Abandoned her, most New Orleaneans would say. A few friends and co-workers are still angry that we left.

I don't defend our choice. It was the worst decision of my life and of my husband's life. Almost everything I've written since has a theme of loss, recovery, and resiliance. Feelings of estrangement and yearning permeate our lives, a homesickness for which the cure—moving back home—seems far away.

Ten years after the flood that changed millions of people, writers and others are telling their stories.

Articles on the Web

This article explores why so many black people could not come back home to NOLA:

Stories from Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra members:

National Geographic profiles people of "grit and determination":

Burnell Cotton opens a grocery store in the Lower Ninth:

Lolis Eric Elie explains in rap style why people returned to New Orleans to live:

One hundred resiliant cities around the world and the challenges each faces:

Dr. Michael White is determined that NOLA's musical heritage won't die:

Is the federal levee flood to blame for all the dystopian sf/f of the past ten years?:

Search for more news stories here, courtesy of the Times-Picayune:

Dr. Bennett deBoisblanc

I used the Times-Picayune link to search for my pulmonologist, Bennett "Dr. Ben" deBoisblanc, and was disappointed to find no recent stories. He was one of the heroes of the storm, keeping flooded Charity Hospital running and people alive for several days until helicopters came to rescue the patients barely surviving without A/C or electricity. His efforts need to be remembered, so here are some old stories about his heroism and his own commentary on the medical crises during the flood:,8599,1218776,00.html

deBoisblanc's two essays in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine:
"Black Hawk, Please Come Down":
"A Letter From New Orleans Five Years Later"
A Sampling of Summer 2015 Books  
Our ruined belongings piled at the curb, some unidentifiable.
Warning: I haven't read any of these (although I did order some), so I don't know their quality.

Tamara Ellis Smith, Another Kind of Hurricane (fiction for kids)

 Gary Rivlin, Katrina: After the Flood

David G. Spielman and others, The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City


Yvonne LaRose said...

How poignant. It wasn't a hurricane that forced me to leave everything behind except for what I could carry. However, the feelings of remorse with regard to everything I had worked very hard to build up to that point (and even harder to rebuild now, two and three times over again) I'm certain are equal to your feelings.

At least you don't have to e riding a bus or some public conveyance and have the impression that you're looking at someone who's wearing some of your clothing or pass by a (antique) store and have the belief that you see some of your furniture for sale in the window of the store.

And then there's the matter of your research notes and manuscripts.

Charles Gramlich said...

we didn't completely leave the area but we moved to Abita Springs. For us, the best decision we ever made.

Shauna Roberts said...

YVONNE, I'm so sorry to hear what happened to you. That was worse than a hurricane. With a hurricane, we had a few days' notice and could sandbag the doors and tarp our offices and take important stuff with us. It sounds as if you had no warning that you would have to leave your home and everything. I had a friend whose house was taken by the bank and she was thrown out by the sheriff, but at least the sheriff also tossed her stuff on the lawn so she could take some. Otherwise, I can't imagine what you went through.

I hope your life goes smoothly from this point on, and if you were wronged, that those who wronged you paid for it and that you can forgive them.

Shauna Roberts said...

CHARLES, I'm glad you're happy being across the lake and in far less danger of floods. I hope your location and yard continue to be pleasures for you.