Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Monday, September 19th (The French Quarter / Oh Shit, it's Hurricane Rita)

I realized that I'd forgotten a major item at our house. Before she died two Februarys ago, my grandmother gave me a set of dishes. Floodwater didn't get into our cabinets, and I kicked myself for forgetting to grab the set. We were plannning another trip into the city anyway, so we decided to go back to the house.

Nagin had previously announced that business owners in the CBD, French Quarter, and Algiers (which is actually on the Westbank) could begin heading back into the city. I expected to see business owners beginning to restart their activities, but earlier in the day Nagin called off all re-entry because of Tropical Storm Rita, which was set to hit the Florida Keys in the next couple of days.

Because of that the Quarter was pretty much deserted. Part of the reason may be because it was spared damage, for the most part. No water, little wind was amazing that an entire area could be fine while other areas, maybe ten to fifteen miles north and east, were flooded completely.

Jackson Square had actually been manicured recently.

Cafe du Monde was uncharacteristically empty. Usually it's full of tourists and locals alike, everyone wolfing down beignets and coffee.

On Frenchmen St., near the Spotted Cat, someone had set up quite a refuge.

Molly's at the Market is one of my favorite bars. Usually I order a pint of Guinness and love it when the bartender makes a star on the head, but no Guinness today. They did have cold beer, but I had to settle for a Miller High Life. It was good.

I talked to several people and everyone had the same sentiment. "We'll do what we have to do." Everyone wants to rebuild. Everyone wants to go home, but not everyone can. Some people are staying with friends, or their parents, like I am. Everyone felt lucky to be back when so many people don't have the means to get back to New Orleans right now. A couple of people recognized me from AG and wished us well in resuming publishing. They're anxious to see what we're going to do.

That's why I can't wait to put out an issue, even if it's an eight pager, a fraction of our previous size. If I can give people even a slight sense of excitement by showing them something from home, then goddamn it, it's worth it. Even if I spend every penny I have left in the business account, even if I have to take some money from our housing funds to do it. It'll be worth it.
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