Every phone call from New Orleans is of interest. Andrea, first introduced in this post, surprised me yesterday with a call from the Garden District where she now lives and plans to stay for a couple years at least. It's not the same place she remembers, says Andrea, having moved to the city just weeks before Hurricane Katrina forced her to leave it. Fortunately for New Orleans, she came back.
Reid Farmer sent this story of the struggle to build a workforce in a city with plenty service outlets intact but few places to live. Most employers are still trying to make first contact with evacuated employees and to make do with whomever happens to show up. Those who do, like Andrea, represent a slightly different demographic (younger, single, mobile), people able and willing to live with less stuff in what amounts to America's newest frontier city. For her and others like her, it must be an exciting and certainly a memorable experience.
On the other side of the equation are my friends Tom and Jenn, lifelong Arabi residents (St. Bernard Parish, 10 minutes from the Quarter) who relocated this week to their new home in Pearl River, a small town about thirty minutes up I-59 from the site of their former, now ruined neighborhood. Everything about the North Shore is different. Taking a tour of the property, Tom and I walked behind a row of pines and scrubby oaks into the thin grass of an open field. There in the sandy soil grew a little pod of pitcher plants, unknown from the south side of Lake Pontchartrain and all of Tom's childhood. We stopped and stared, seeing these slender, alien beings as symbols of great change.