A glimpse of a bright side:
It's 3:30 AM, I'm exhausted and I can't sleep. That's not unusual in the past few days. It's not that I'm obsessed with the New Orleans situation - tonight I distracted myself with a viewing of Harold & Kumar, the Dawn of the Dead remake and the last three episodes of Rescue Me - it's that it's never far from my mind.
There's really nothing that can make me feel better about the bureaucratic clusterfuck hindering those who want to help in New Orleans. Or the bizarre, unreal "Thunderdome" style stories coming out of New Orleans, which are shocking because it's the kind of thing I never thought I'd hear about in America in my lifetime. But in looking at CNN.com (full disclosure time: I was looking for something to indicate how low Bush's approval rating is right now, to cheer me up so I can get to bed) I found a story that gave me a little bit of cheer.
The French Quarter is still standing. It seems stupid, I know, to focus on trivialities like this when the cost in human lives and property damage is so high, but seeing the sentence "Cafe du Monde, the home of sugar-dusted beignets -- puffy, rectangular doughnuts -- is still there" brought a few tears of joy to my eyes. See, Cafe Du Monde was a place I visited every time I was in New Orleans, it was a focal point for the city I remembered, and if it's still there, if the Quarter is relatively dry, then I can believe (as I haven't in the past few days) that New Orleans will rise again. It'll have scars, it'll be damaged by the events of the Hurricane and after, but it will exist again, and it won't have lost all of its history to an attack by nature most likely fueled by those who refused to believe that environmental damage was anything but a liberal fable.
New Orleans will be back. It will be changed, it has been hurt, but it hasn't been destroyed. And you can bet your ass that I'll be making a return trip to the city.