Beth Williams, a native of Decatur, Alabama and a Tulane librarian, wrote quite an amazing essay for the daily newspaper in my home town. Really lovely, evocative prose:
condition of Big Easy before and after Katrina
By Sara Beth Williams Special to THE DAILY
Home. It is where I am now, and it is where I have, in some ways, never left.
Whether you've spent only days or years away from this river valley, you know what I mean.
You know it when you cross the little bridge over some other creek bed in deepest, hottest July and the coolness rises up like an Alabama blessing. You know it wherever you are along the eastern migration route on a late fall day, when you look up to see the Canada geese in their old formation against the cumulus clouds.
You know it when, in a dream, you come into a landscape that is green, and rolling, and so lush with shadow and promise that you first believe it must be a sort of paradise, but then you recognize it as the place beyond the "No Trespassing" sign where you once escaped with your giggling co-criminals, tearing your bellbottoms on the barbed-wire fence, carrying a few contraband beers and a pack of Salems, to share.
You know that it actually exists, or did, somewhere out near a dirt road on Burningtree Mountain.
"It actually exists!" you say to yourself. And you are amazed with this lovely dream that is real.