It is still Night in New Orleans. Yet, this has been an encouraging day. So many seem now to have been relocated to shelters, and money is flowing in by the vault loads, and more lights are flickering in New Orleans. I saw lots of people smiling, and the mood of the reporters has shifted. But it is still Night. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but there is a long Night ahead of us all.
So many have pitched in, driven as close as possible, and done whatever they could to help. So many are giving money. So many locals are on call constantly to help with whatever they can. Lots of flickering lights in the Night that is called Katrina.
But there is still a long Night before the Dawn. I can’t even imagine, and I know so little of the realities, how much it will take — how much funding it will take to rebuild the levees, the walls, and the still solid buildings. And then all the money to examine streets and repave them and resolidify them. And the bridges that have whole sections washed aside. And the thousands of homes that will either have to be refurbished or, what is more likely for many, to be torn down and totally rebuilt. The Night is still hovering.
My plea is two-fold for any who might listen: first, we need to commit ourselves right now to plan on giving to the New Orleans relief efforts for another year or more. We can’t ask Dawn to show up early. Second, I’m hoping that those who rebuild New Orleans will come from New Orleans. There are thousands now unemployed whose sole employment was in districts and parrishes now swallowed into the Night. Give them first crack at those jobs. Perhaps it will be these people who can be the vanguard of those who rebuild the City and who will find employment rebuilding their neighborhoods. The Night of New Orleans wants to be sent packing by the lights who love her the most. We are here to help them for they know what is best.