Fourteen years ago today, I was in a motel room somewhere in the South with my mom and one of her friends. I’d moved back in with Mom after a decade in Los Angeles chasing the dream of animation; I’d gotten off a train barely a week ago. All my stuff except for one suitcase and the stuff Mom had never shipped out yet was in a shipping container in a warehouse.
Fourteen years ago today Hurricane Katrina sloshed in up through Lake Ponchatrain and drowned half of New Orleans. Mom’s apartment was on the second story; the wind took the roof off the other side of the building but her stuff survived. My stuff was thoroughly inundated. With nothing tying me down I ended up in Boston with Nick and Rik.
A little under half a year ago, I came down from Seattle to look for a place. Moved in about a month and a half later.
There’s a restaurant a few blocks from here – Mandina’s – that has a plaque commemorating where the flood line was. It’s above my head when I’m in there. I think my place is on ground a few feet lower than Mandina’s. When we left ahead of Barry and the scarily high river, I didn’t really bother trying to put any of my stuff in high places around the apartment. If the bowl of the city fills again, I know that everything I own is gone.
I keep on feeling like I’m waiting for this vacation to end. Waiting for me to have to get on a plane and go back to Seattle, where I will resume dying for half the year due to lack of sun. Maybe lingering trauma from Katrina is part of why.
This city is absurd and improbable and wonderful and I hope I get to live here a good long time.