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Katrina Time

Day 43

It’s that time of year when remembrance dominates our minds and the media. For some it can be painful and even oppressive, for others it is necessary and therapeutic. But no matter your attitude, it’s virtually inescapable.

Because humans have five fingers on each hand, this anniversary gets special attention, and the remembrance is not a strictly local phenomenon. Across the nation people are being reminded of what happened on the Gulf Coast five years ago.

But down here it’s even more intense. A superficial glance at this morning’s paper reveals no fewer than eleven Katrina-related headlines on the front pages of the various sections, including the Metro, Living and, yes, even the Sports sections. And I’m probably missing a few. I haven’t even looked at the arts and entertainment Lagniappe supplement.

This has been building all week.

If it feels like more than five years to some of us, that’s because disasters apparently make their own time. As with youth and grief and travel and certain psychedelic drugs, time seems to slow down.

This is called time dilation. When everything you take for granted is ripped out from under you, it forces you to slow down and live in the moment.

Those first two weeks after Katrina lasted about two years. The next couple months, another year. I’m not sure exactly how long the following year lasted but it was surely much longer than 365 days. Time has only slowly come to heel.

All in all, I’d say Katrina happened about 15 years ago. Anyone who’s lived through it knows I speak the truth. But because we are ruled by the calendar and not our hearts, five years it is.

A funny thing happened almost exactly halfway through those five ostensible years. We had a baby. I used to think our lives would always be defined in terms of before and after Katrina. But it turns out that having a child has been an even more profoundly transformative experience. In some ways, at least, our post-Katrina era is being eclipsed by the Age of Persephone. We’ve spent two and half years in each.

From this point on the eclipse will just become more complete. I never expected sorrow to be eclipsed by joy like this, but there it is. If I wasn’t a parent, I’d still feel satisfied with our personal recovery. But I wouldn’t feel this clear and definitive break with what came before. It would be a long gradual subsidence rather than this sudden inoculation.

I know my personal experience is just that — personal. Time has not healed all wounds. We still face manifest challenges as a community and as individuals, both here on the Gulf Coast and in the diaspora.

My heart goes out, at this time especially, to all those who are still struggling with Katrina, to those who have been displaced yet still yearn to come home, to those who have not been made whole, to those who still feel the heartbreak and loss.

I hope, in time, you find some measure of peace.

Photo by Gary Martin, licensed under Creative Commons

Published inKatrinaNews & Media


  1. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    just now reading this: (Title…)
    “Censored Gulf news: Deadly denial of ‘Core Exit.’ Evacuations. Griff’s Agenda 21 facts.”
    …..Deadly Denial of Core Exit
    (quoting the article) Aug.27,2010…
    Denial that Americans are under a planned chemical warfare attack by their own own government gassing Gulf coast residents is resulting in a deadly slow-kill, rendering it impossible for most locals to self-relocate. Project Gulf Impact filmmaker has learned from government officials that “forced evacuation will begin within days” as Agenda 21 escalates, impacting not only Gulf Coast residents but also, in a domino effect, the entire nation equally in denial due to the unprecedented petrochemical-military-industrial-complex (PMIC) cover-up of the continuing U.S. crime against humanity for its ultimate “Full Spectrum Dominance.”

    Hugh Kaufman’ words, “Americans can’t handle truth” about the Gulf ring truer each passing day.

    Matt Smith of Project Gulf Impact has spoken to numerous government officials who all say the same thing: Forced evacuation will begin soon.

    Since mid-June, the military and FEMA have been engaged in Emergency Plans for 36 urban areas from Texas to Florida due to the unstoppable Gulf oil volcano the size of Mt. Everest according to WMR.

    ( end quote)….

    Bart! Yes the Joys and Spiritual Transformation of Parenthood….
    let us keep the little critter ALIVE for as long as possible…she’s more
    important than attachment to the house, to Nawlins, to XU, anything…

  2. Bart,
    Thank you for sharing your little bit of the world with us for the past 5 years. I’ve found you to always be a voice of calm in a sometimes frenzied post-K environment. Peace to you and your family.

  3. Chris Chris

    I’ve read your blog intermittently over the past year and a half and when you were asked to pick an entry to share i first thought to myself that your entries that I loved the most were about your daughter. They were the most heartfelt and what i could relate too the most. Second I loved the humor of your entries about your wife. Re-reading your entries about Katrina seemed almost like you were holding back comparatively. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Chris Rasmussen
    Pleasant Hill, Ca.

  4. Michael Homan Michael Homan

    Yeah, seems like about 15 years. It’s hard for me to think that I lived before my children were here, but I could say the same about the flood.

  5. It’s embarrassing how little I remember before the boys were born. I certainly never yearn for those “good old days.” This is a beautiful post in many ways, and I’ve also loved reading you all these years. I try to remember which “NOLA Bloggers” I found first, and can’t quite. It was all at about the same time

  6. Accidental submit.

    It was all at about the same time: you, Schroeder & Tim. After that, it was a life-altering cascade of discovery. Anyway, as sad as I am that it all happened, I am also grateful for having all y’all in my world.

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