Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 1 - Tour of New Orleans

Oh dear, already day 3 . . .


After a divine breakfast courtesy of The Country Inn & Suites it was off to tour the city! I was excited as well as a bit apprehensive about going on this tour, which have been my general feelings about this trip all along. Excited to see first hand what happened to New Orleans during Katrina, but apprehensive because I felt like a foolish tourist. I know there are a number of people in New Orleans who despise tourists. They feel we are only here to gawk and exploit them.

We drove past homes that had been damaged and as we did a family stepped outside of their home, which had been restored, and began video taping us. I wanted to crawl under my seat. I can understand the frustration they must feel, that all these people are coming from around the world to stare at the destruction of their lives and then they get to hop on a plane back to their reality where everything is hunky-dory. It's a sad and difficult situation. It upsets me that people would think that way about us. Yes, I do agree that busloads of people on "Katrina Tours" is rather obnoxious, but New Orleans is a part of MY country too. These people are MY fellow citizens, and Hurricane Katrina was also MY tragedy, even if I don't live in New Orleans. I am sheltered from the truth of Katrina by default because I live in Minnesota, but it does not mean I don't care. And getting the chance to see first hand exactly what happened is an opportunity I definitely will take even if others don't understand my purpose. I don't want to drive through this town and stare out the window and take snapshots so that I can go home, tell a good story, and then put it all behind me and live my nice content life. I want to see what happened, hear the stories and experience the truth so that I can understand what really has happened in my country and do what I can to change it. It is so obvious to see the failures of the United States when you come here and it's a very sad and very disappointing reality.

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