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Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans

I can't stop watching the hurricane coverage, or stop thinking about New Orleans. I know Mississippi and Alabama were hit too, but I've never been to either state. I have been to New Orleans.

I remember the hotel on Canal Street and the people who worked there who were so friendly and helpful. The psychic who gave me a reading at Bottom of the Cup. The cute little jewelry store across the street that had the beautiful bracelets and rings. I remember the Bourbon French Perfume shop and the ladies that worked there. We had such a fun conversation as one of them worked to come up with my unique perfume. I remember the quaint little restaurant just off Jackson Square and having beignets and cafe au lait outdoors. I remember the street performers in the French Quarter and walking along Bourbon Street at night, watching all the people. I remember riding the trolley through the Garden District and then turning around and returning to the hotel.

And I look at the pictures on the news and can't even comprehend that this is the same city. I see the people in such dire need of help, and can't help crying. I see the loss, the bewilderment, the anger that help isn't forthcoming and my heart breaks.

I'm not much for cities. I don't like New York or Los Angeles. Even Minneapolis has gotten too big, but New Orleans was special. The ambiance of the city, the friendliness of the people--it quickly became one of my favorite places.

So I watch the news, and I wonder about all the wonderful people that I met. I wonder how long it will take to evacuate the sick and injured, the people trapped by the water. I wonder how long it will take to regain control from the thugs who are walking around with automatic weapons. And I wonder what will become of these people who are displaced, who have no jobs, no homes, nothing but the clothes on their back.

I've already donated to the Red Cross, I did that days ago, but it doesn't seem like enough. But as I see the tragedy on the Gulf Coast, I don't know that there is enough any one person can do.

Here are some pictures I took of New Orleans during happier times.

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This is a shot of a New Orleans Police Department building. My friend and I were laughing that this is where Marc Chastain from Linda Howard's Kill and Tell worked.

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This is a shot of the Mississippi River. At the time, I was amazed that it was over my head. In Minnesota, we have to look down to see the river.

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These carriages were very close to the river and across the street from the place where my friend and I had beignets and cafe au lait. I can't remember the name of the place now, but it's famous. It'll probably come to me in the middle of the night.

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This is a government building (I think) in the French Quarter (I think).

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Here's a shot down one of the streets in the French Quarter. During my stay, I spent a lot of time in here and loved it.