I’m still in New Orleans until the morning of January 7 2007, and Amanda started classes/rotations again today, so I’m working. I rode my bike down St.Charles for the first time in probably two months, parked it under Stern Hall at Tulane, got some coffee from the PJ’s right there, and am now at my old, still-unoccupied desk in 440 Boggs.
Nobody’s here because it’s officially still vacation for the students.
It’s eerie. Five months after we left, my name is still on my file drawers. Our names and phone numbers are still on the marker board. Most of our non-perishable food and dishes are still in the “kitchen” cabinets. I needed a pen, so I went over to the can-o-pens and took a few. To use my desk, I had to clear off boxes and packing foam that the movers left when they packed up our stuff.
It’s just like parts of the city.
There are parts of New Orleans, the parts that really flooded, like where I used to live before Katrina, where time stopped when the flood waters receded. Time has stopped here. Sure, we still have a few undergrads that use one corner of the lab, but they don’t touch the rest. Amanda mentioned the other day that she’s getting sick of being asked, “How’s the recovery going?” It’s nice that people care enough to ask, but it gets harder and harder because the answer is never a great one. More than a year after Katrina, it’s not possible to drive through uptown without encountering broken street lights. The water pressure still sucks. There are still those deserted areas where time stopped.
I’m sorry if I sound depressing. I didn’t mean to be, but it’s the way the lab feels, the way Tulane and the city feel. A lot of things are improving, yes, but some things were damaged and then time stopped.
I wonder when it will start again.