We'll Be Back!

When Hurricane Katrina made landfall over the Louisiana / Mississippi Gulf Coast areas on August 29, 2005, my husband and I were on vacation hiking in the Grand Canyon. Upon returning home a week after the storm, we were grateful to find that, overall, our immediate families were not severely affected by the storm or its after effects. For that, we count our blessings. We had a few extended family members and several friends among the many, many others that lost everything and have little or no hope for the future.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, my employer temporarily relocated our law office to the city of Alexandria, LA.  We were fortunate in that our firm's main office is located there and they were able to make room for us to work and keep our office running.

In comparison to New Orleans, Alexandria is a small town, but one filled with people with big hearts and generous attitudes.  I was personally blessed by the kindness of strangers in that a fellow employee opened her home, her heart and her family to me by giving me a place to live while my husband remained behind to tend to our home and his business.  I feel fortunate to have ended up in a nice town such as Alexandria during the last couple of months.

My office is moving back to New Orleans and it is time to look to the future -- the future of
New Orleans.

New Orleans is my birthplace and the city where I grew up and went to school. I have lived my whole life in and around various parts of New Orleans and saw those areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that happened after the storm.

We have all seen the destruction in the photos and video coverage shown in our newspapers and on television. We have seen the negative side that some media outlets chose as the "bigger" story, and, more importantly, we have seen true human tragedy, loss of entire communities, and the bravery of those who manage to persevere through it all.

I have always been proud of my city and believe in the "Spirit of New Orleans" that continues to exist in the hearts of all true New Orleanians.

The City of New Orleans will always be a travel destination. The music, which is the heart of the city, and the food, which is its soul, will always be here. The corner family-owned restaurants and bars we love so much will re-open and businesses will return to be bigger and better than ever.

The French Quarter has withstood many disasters through its history including fire, flood and disease. It will never die and it will remain a fun and historic place to visit. Mardi Gras in New Orleans has roots going back into history some 200 years. It will go on and the legacy will continue.

Katrina took a huge bite out of the "Big Easy" but the people will rebuild. The true New Orleanians are loyal to their city. The friendliness of the people, the flavor of the communities will remain. That’s what makes us unique. We’re not just a city of people. We’re a city with a personality expressed by its people.

Give us time. We’ll be back and I invite you to come on over to visit, enjoy some food & music, and celebrate with us. Laissez le bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Patricia G. Poupart
A Native of New Orleans

(Printed in Letters to the Editor in The Town Talk, Alexandria, LA on October 30, 2005 and in Gambit Weekly, New Orleans, LA on November 8, 2005 (edited).