Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Season of Hollow Soul

Yes, I have a tendency to be melodramatic at times, but I just can't stop the tears as I write out a check to the Archdiocese of Detroit for its Katrina Relief Fund. This is the second time this summer my heart has been broken: first by a woman and now by a force of nature named after a woman. I guess the old adage is true: you learn about what it is you love most whenever you lose it.

I don't have words for what New Orleans means to me. I'm Detroit born and raised, but I've never felt more at home than when I visited the Big Easy. If you've been there, and you're a certain type of person, then you already know what I mean. If you haven't and/or you're not, then I probably can't explain it in any case. This isn't meant to sound condescending. But New Orleans is an atmosphere, a mood, the echo of a nearly extinct way of life, none of it easily articulated -- at least not with conventional adjectives or verbs. It is a place, an experience like no other. I loved Paris, I loved Madrid -- but they weren't New Orleans. That's the best I can do.

I and several regular readers of this blog (for the first and maybe only time, I'll admit there are more than two) were scheduled for another visit to New Orleans in early October. It looks like that trip will have to be scrapped now. Whenever I get down there next, it will obviously not be the same. But I'll take some comfort in the fact that New Orleanians are not ones to quit or be bowed. They will recover and rebuild. It will take a long time, and much that has been lost cannot possibly be recovered, but the spirit of one of the world's greatest cities will not be destroyed. This I know.

Do I feel bad for all the other people and areas affected by Katrina? Well, sure, of course. But my heart is and always will be most with New Orleans, and that city's devastation hurts me like, well, only one other thing could hurt me. Tonight I am truly heartsick... again.

If anyone else is interested in following my good example, here's the info for the relief fund:

(Make check payable to) The Archdiocese of Detroit
(Memo) Katrina Relief Fund
1234 Washington Blvd (C5)
Detroit, MI 48226

If you aren't Catholic, or even religious, Detroit's Channel 7 has a list of other groups and links that might be more to your liking.