still a blues song.

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9th ward blues ... 9th ward blues, pt 2

going back to new orleans isnt something i could accurately describe in words. i think perhaps that is why i've avoided actually writing about my trip there. the only word that comes to mind when i think about it is surreal. but then my mind starts to move and surreal becomes replaced with anger. sadness. mourning. pain. happiness. comfort. home. fear. talk about a maelstrom of emotions. finally seeing it again after i thought i had put so much time and distance between myself and its streets was bizarre. especially in the state that its still in right now.

everything about it was so familiar... so much my home that all the old ties i had there rushed to the surface the second i got off the freeway and started the trek down carrollton. i guess in many ways you never really know if you are over something/ someone until you come face to face with it again... and for a long time i had told myself that i had cut all ties... that i had closed that chapter of my life. but here i am, standing in front of my old house, replaying every moment that was spent within its walls, and all of a sudden that firm grip on closure that i thought i had started to dematerialize right before my eyes. it was replaced by this overwhelming desire to return. immediately. which is a scary thing because even though i know i am not the person i was when i left... i'm still not where i need to be mentally to go back. and i dont know if i ever will be. sad thought though, because even with all the fucked up-ness that is still going on in the city... its really where i feel most at home. moreso than any other place ive ever lived. and that was one of the most surprising feelings that i experienced going back. just how natural and normal it felt to be there. even amidst the downed powerlines and army vehicles. it still felt like home.

but then again... that was just uptown. the 9th ward was a completely different story. and thats where the anger came in. i made the trek to my old school, half hoping to see some of my old students running around in the neighborhood like they always did. i dont think any amount of tv footage or pictures on the internet could ever prepare me for seeing that. the streets were untouched. i had to drive slowly to avoid all the random piles of debris that were scattered everywhere. trees blocked many of the roads so i was limited in where i could go. some houses were missing roofs. some were missing walls. some were just missing. there were no refrigerators out in the street like you saw in some neighborhoods... because really, no one had returned to take them out. the scariest thing though, was how quiet it was. the neighborhood all around the florida was always alive. one of the reasons i loved it so much. there were always kids runnin around playing in the streets and on the porches, people everywhere just hanging out, fixing cars in the driveway, tending to the gardens. but now? nothing. i drove around the neighborhood for half an hour and saw one vehicle full of people... and it was one of those army hummers, so that doesnt count. and when i finally got to my school, that was one of the hardest sights to see. knowing everyone who lived in the houses around it... and now looking at whats left of them... i can't even imagine. i dont even want to imagine what happened.

quite a severe difference from uptown and the french quarter. uptown still had its spots that looked a little rundown... but the quarter really masked any sign that a hurricane had ravaged the city. razoo was full of drunk tourists, verdi mart had a dinner line, and the mystery tours were still running. if you stayed within the confines of the quarter you would never know the ruin that is being ignored beyond it. i mean don't get me wrong. i understand that rebuilding takes time. but jesus. its been 4 damn months since katrina and the 9th ward still looks the same as it did last month. and the month before that. and the month before that. now i always loved nagin. and i was really hoping that with the opportunity to rebuild the city... some of the old dirty politics would have been washed away with the storm. going back there just made me realize, however, that some things will never change.

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