Monday, February 8, 2016

LIFE IN "DESIRE" FOR ONE 83 YEAR OLD RESIDENT POST KATRINA LEVY FAILURE FLOODING

 Notes From 2007 Previously Unpublished

I met George with a journalist in the early summer of 2007. I was driving the journalist around the 9th Ward and we went into the Desire area, via Piety/Louisa street.


The heat and heat index this summer was mind numbing in New Orleans. We met George as we were driving down the street and we saw him outside of his boarded up house pulling up weeds with the back end of a hammer, whilst leaning on a cane.


Something intuitively told me that we were to get out of the car and meet this man. I was in a state of disbelief as I watched this elderly man try to pull up the weeds with the back end of a hammer, something about this act hit my heart particularly hard.


We got out, and introduced ourselves and began talking with George, he began talking about his life and suddenly broke down emotionally, both I and the journalist moved closer to him and gave him a hug as he tried to regain his composure.


Somehow my heart intuitively and emphatically understood that the suffering this man I had just met had been through, and going through. It was extraordinary, for a man to cry in this way with strangers, for a man who was strong enough in his pride for home that he would get out there in the sweltering heat and humidity, with a cane and a hammer to weed his property, well I knew this was no ordinary event.

 One of my greatest regrets is that I have not been able to help George more. My second regret is that I brought someone to him to help him cut his lawn, which is very important to George, the person I brought was a local whom I thought I knew. They negotiated a price and what needed to be done, I went over the details as I had learned that George likes things a particular way, like the grass being bagged and the bags being put by the curb. The man told George he would be back the next day to finish the work and George not only paid him but gave him and extra $20. This man not only took George's money but never came back even after I spoke with him and he made false promises to me that he would. George took it in stride, he has had experiences of people not being truthful with him. I took it hard. I brought someone to this kind, trusting man who trusted my word and the person I brought to him lied to him and ripped him off. Yes this is my greatest regret regarding my hopes to help George.  I will try to find volunteers until I can find someone trustworthy enough with a good work ethic who will take on George's lawn cutting for him.



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