Monday, September 22, 2008

Life and Luck in New Orleans - originally posted in 2006

This is my long overdue blog about living in New Orleans.

I've been a homeowner in the City of New Orleans since September 2002, and have lived in the Greater New Orleans Area since 1993. Prior to that, I lived around the States and in England, as my father was in the Navy. My family has lived in New Orleans and the surrounding area since the 1700s - one of my ancestors was a carpenter who helped build the St. Louis Cathedral. I met my wife in New Orleans, we married in New Orleans, and we bought a home in New Orleans.

On August 28, 2005, we evacuated from Hurricane Katrina's path. On September 21, 2005, we evacuated from Hurricane Rita's path. On September 24, 2005, our daughter was born. On October 24, 2005, we were affected by Hurricane Wilma and we returned to our home in New Orleans on November 5, 2005.

Our street was very fortunate, in that it is relatively high ground - almost all around us received more water from the design failure of the levee system, some four and five feet more. Even on our street we were one of the luckiest houses, receiving about a foot of water. Because our house is raised and the basement is stucco, we did not have to remove any sheetrock or have any water in our main living areas. Our losses included a car and a number of possessions in the basement.

I called this blog Last Magnolia because I tend to be a very "lucky" person. On our street, I think about eight magnolia trees died. They were all large, mature trees, but the salt water apparently doesn't treat them well. They weren't on our property and the other homeowners took them down - they were in a sad brown shape and they weren't going to survive. However, we do have a magnolia tree on our property. It's a little bit larger, maybe on a little higher ground, and it still appears healthy and blooming, one year after the flooding caused by the failure of our federally-funded and designed levee system.

It's the last magnolia on our street.

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