Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Orleans Pictures

I’ve finished uploading and organizing my pictures from New Orleans. You can see them here. The set labeled “NOLA” is mainly focused on hurricane and flood damage. The pictures in “NOLA Fun” are mostly of the swamp tour that Judy, Vivian, and I took on Saturday morning.

I think we’re all still processing the trip; I know I am. I went out to lunch with friends after church on Sunday. We were driving through the neighborhood, and I was looking out the window. Suddenly it hit me: no spray paint on the houses! No water marks! The strong foundations and intact houses appeared to be completely out of place. Then I remembered, “Oh yeah. I’m in San Francisco.”

I picked up something called “barotrauma” from the flight home; it’s what happens when you fly when you’re sick, one or both of your eustacian tubes don’t open, and you end up with fluid trapped behind your eardrum. It’s in my left ear, and doesn’t hurt now, but it’s uncomfortable. I’m hearing half-underwater. I called the advice nurse at Kaiser, because this had never happened to me before. She asked how I got it. I answered, “I was in New Orleans….”

She was way more interested in that experience than in my gunky ear, and kept thanking me for going. She said it made her night. I appreciate her thanks; I really do, but it’s kind of surreal. Everyone we met in NOLA thanked us as well. Going down there seemed like an adventure to me before we left; now I’m grateful that I could go, and I wish everyone would. That experience changed me forever. And every little bit of attention or caring helps, whether you’re gutting houses, distributing clothes, or just sitting with people. Praying for them helps. Sending money helps. I think that presence is the best gift of all. If all you can do is witness to the fact that these people exist in these conditions, that is tremendous. They will tell you.

I saw the doctor this morning; my ear is supposed to heal on its own, in “a few weeks.” Meanwhile, I’m developing empathy for hearing-challenged people, and praying that the Sudafed I’m taking works soon.

A blessed Holy Week to all.


Eileen said...

(((Kristin))) Hope your ear feels better soon!

And thank you for sharing your pictures. I've pointed people in this direction from my blog.

It really blows my mind that this is what it's like there nearly two years post Katrina.

Kirstin said...

You're welcome, Eileen, and thank you for pointing people there!

I'm not even sure that pictures can describe it.

SusanG said...

You wrote "If all you can do is witness to the fact that these people exist in these conditions, that is tremendous. They will tell you."

That is EXACTLY why we took the Katrina Grayline tour in NOLA - not to gawk, but to bear witness to what is there.