It’s Sunday afternoon in July in NOLA.Â It’s sort of still my morning; I got up 2 hours ago.Â It’s disgustingly hot outside, and the roaches are in full effect every night.Â In my kitchen sink, on my front stoop.Â And a rat ran in front of my car 2 nights ago.Â Sure there’s crime on the rise and trash still on the streets, but add to that the bugs and the heat, and then I really start to wonder, can I deal w/NOLA for the foreseeable future?Â What am I doing here?Â Why?Â Despite my attachment to the city, passion for the post-disaster politics, and intellectual thrill from the complexity of the city’s recovery, I REALLY hate having to wander around my house at night in flip flops lest I step on a roach venturing out of the kitchen towards our office/dining room.Â And not feeling comfortable riding my bike through Central City anymore, and not having any close friends down here, and sleeping alone in a big house in a city in which I don’t feel particularly safe to begin with, and having to drive everywhere, and eating large, fried meals more often than needed, and having every little thing cost $$, like I’m in Vegas, etc. etc. etc.Â Whine, whine, whine.Â
But then there’s moments like now, as the guy behind the counter of the Oak Street Cafe on the corner of Oak and Dublin in Carrollton clears my plate that held a lightly grilled, buttered biscuit.Â (Fried foods ain’t the only means of rich calorie-consumption down here!)Â After getting up late, I am showered and washed clean of the dirt and bug bites from my 7 hour disaster tour around the city yesterday (for 2 MIT grads in town). I am sitting at the cafe counter rummaging through emails and news articles, listening to a guy play the piano and having some terrific iced coffee (one of the best offerings of the city – great coffee and free wireless at most cafes/coffeehouses). I had a great sausage egg and swiss cheese on whole wheat toast. The guy next to me at the bar is rolling his own cigarettes.Â There are fresh flowers on the counter in front of me.Â I am sharing the moment with all of you thanks to the wireless.Â It is a great, good, slow, lazy sunday morning/afternoon.Â The guy behind me at a table is wearing a t-shirt that says across his back, “hell yeah, we’re still here.Â Chilly Gentilly.”Â
And for the moment, my attachment to NOLA is renewed.Â And I am happy.