were relatively clear—but hot and humid, of course--when I flew into
By the time
I was on the ground, there was an accident on the interstate that serves as the
normal route from the airport to the downtown and French Quarter, so our
shuttle driver took an old route through the neighborhoods.
The economic aftermath of the hurricane was much more visible than wind damage. I saw several strip malls that were built in the 90s and were obviously going concerns prior to Katrina, that now are all boarded up. Many of homes down the side streets were boarded up, too. Several had FEMA trailers parked on the front lawns, where families were living while waiting to repair and rebuild. Business outlets that you rarely see fail--in part because these businesses do such a good job of selecting retail locations--are all boarded up. McDonalds and Walgreens, for example.
It may take years for both the large and the small effects of Katrina to be overcome. While waiting for the elevator from the tenth floor of my hotel, I looked out the window. On the outside ledge sat a matted tuft of pink fiberglass insulation and a few shards of glass.
that Matthew Arnold called “the eternal note of sadness” always has been
discernible amidst the revelry and riot of
Once I got
down to the central business district, however, another sense emerges—of
vitality in rebuilding. Construction and renovation is everywhere. Granted,
Friday afternoon I caught the tail end of the Library Journal Movers and Shakers luncheon. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to hear the keynote speaker, who several people commented was excellent. In the late 1990s John Wood left his position as a member of the senior management team at Microsoft to create Room to Read, a fast-growing nonprofit organization dedicated to creating schools and libraries throughout Asia. His new book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, is scheduled to be published in September.
hearing about the innovative and courageous work of the movers and shakers
being honored always makes me proud to be a librarian. I'm also proud that