Has it really only been one year? It feels a whole lot longer.

It’s been a particularly rough weekend, but today doesn’t seem like the day to complain or to rant. Today is the day to count off some blessings.

Jennifer and I are alive and we have one another. We will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary in six days. I don’t know how I could have survived this past year without her.

We managed to escape with all of our pets and many of the personal artifacts that so many of neighbors lost — pictures, Jennifer’s wedding dress, things like that. When we were able to get back in we found we still had a house. Because we only got 1-2 ft of water inside, we were able to save more than many. Our house, built in 1911, was as solid as you’d expect a good old New Orleans home to be. There was no substantial structural damage. Our property still has some financial value. Mid City seems to be recovering quicker than many of the other heavily affected areas. It received somewhat less water overall and is in close proximity to the city center.

I don’t personally know anyone who died. While many of my friends and nearly all of my extended family were born and raised here, they all survived and most are still near. Most of them lost even more than we did and I mourn their losses as well. My uncle has little more than a slab in Bay St Louis. Several aunts and uncles had water to their roofs in St Bernard.

My parents home in Old Metairie was miraculously untouched. My brother lost a bit when the roof to his second story apartment was damaged, but overall, he made out allright. My sister and her husband in Old Metairie missed water by inches. They have since sold that house and moved into the city to the relatively high ground of the Esplanade ridge.

Both my wife and I still have our jobs. She lost both of the offices where she was in a private psychology practice. However, she was able to start up again and the need for her skills is great. People have begun to find her so she is able to help others trying to make sense of all this. I actually retained my job and managed to land a new, better job a few months later. So many of our former neighbors can’t say this and they’re struggling.

While we lost a lot and have had to fight our insurance companies hard, we managed to not come out completely upside down. At least we had insurance. So many others are waiting to even get a settlement or have gotten settlements that are absurdly unfair. We had a tough time with a contractor and we lost some money, but we still haven’t experienced the kind of financial pain so many people we know are experiencing.

We’re still here, in New Orleans, which is where we want to be right now. It’s not easy and it never really was. But it is our home. Make way for the Rebirth, y’all. And don’t ever forget what really happened here.
[tags] Katrina, New Orleans, We are not OK [/tags]

Scott Harney

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