Before I left to go down to New Orleans, people said to me, "Wow, that's going to be hard" or "Too bad I never got down there before the hurricane." Yes, in some ways it was hard ~ however, one needs to go there to truly understand the impact of that event. And having been there both before and after the hurricane, I can honestly say that the essence of New Orleans is very much alive. So no, it's not too bad if you never got there before Katrina.
People have worked hard, very hard, and they still have a long road ahead of them. But there are already so many signs of life and rebirth. Driving around with my friend K, looking at some of the most devastated areas, she kept remarking on the trees ~ the oak trees. Entire houses were gone, but those old oaks were standing proud. Green and thriving. And that is how it is in New Orleans. It is a city whose precarious relationship with nature is extraordinary.