I moved to New Orleans last year, sight unseen. I rented my house from an ad on the Tulane housing website, simply hoping it would work out. I remember using Google Earth to locate my new place and being surprised by the blue squares, which turned out to be tarps, and the rows of white Lego pieces, which turned out to be FEMA trailers, just across the street from my new home. I was surprised, having thought, like the rest of America, that maybe the whole “emergency management” thing was over. Nope.
I ride my bike past the FEMA trailer park virtually every day. One day, the trailers were just gone. Where did the people go? I don’t imagine there was a spontaneous eruption of rental units in the area. And today I saw this scene: mounds of dirt being pushed around the vacant earth left behind. This used to be a playground. Perhaps that’s what they’ll bring back. Today, though, on the verge of my one year anniversary here, I thought about the lost time, the lost play, the lost childhoods of this neighborhood. I don’t know where they’ll push this earth next, but these past three years can never be undone.