Posted by: kellymurtagh | January 10, 2008

Arriving in Louisiana

The wave of humidity that greeted me when I stepped off the plane from Raleigh to New Orleans, was a familiar presence abruptly welcoming me back to my home state.  I drank in the heavy Louisiana air, and could barely contain my excitement. The food, the french quarter, the family.  I could not wait to share these elements of my Louisiana upbringing with my fellow classmates who were unfamiliar with this foreign land.  

We sat down  to eat in Acme Oyster House and I chuckled at the perplexed looks on my friends faces as they tried to decipher the menu.  “What’s a po-boy?”  “Etouffee?”  “What do crawfish taste like?”  “RAW OYSTERS?”   I gladly answered all of their questions about these dishes, ones that I had been eating my entire life and was ecstatic to be eating once again.  After large lunch of chargrilled-oysters, gumbo, and jambalaya, we waddled out of Acme Oyster House and strolled down the famous Bourbon street.  The intoxicating mixture of neon-lit signs  and live music added to New Orleans’ charm and it only got better as we reached  Jackson square.  Leaning on the wrought-iron fence on the bridge overlooking Decatur Street, I gazed at St. Louis Cathedral and the Andrew Jackson statue valiantly frozen in the center of the square.  With plans to visit Cafe du Monde for beignets on the horizon, it seemed like the perfect New Orleans moment.   

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However, these sanguine thoughts inevitably dissolved as realism hit me.  Hurricane Katrina.  Devastation, disaster, deluge.  The happy facade the french quarter currently exudes, enthralls visitors, as Katrina seems to be a mere waif of a memory.  However, her presence is still here, haunting the city of New Orleans, as her devastation is overwhelmingly evident just outside the touristy areas.  New Orleans deserves attention, and that’s why we’re here.  To document an event that is not well documented.  A time when radio broadcasters united, forgetting competition, and bonded together during an emergency to provide information to a community, terrified for their city.  

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