Thursday, March 04, 2010

The 5 Year Anniversary

A lot has been accomplished five years out from the storm in New Orleans, but much more remains to be completed and even realized.

In the spring of 2009, I finally moved out of the FEMA trailer and back into my house in Lakeview. After wading through the perils of the Road Home program, I am pleased to say that my house which sat in ten feet of water for nearly six weeks is back and better than before. My neighborhood has seen the return of around 60% of its pre-Katrina residents and this is easily witnessed by the continued construction everywhere, but with my home now surrounded by three empty lots - the scars are also everywhere.

I have taken my energies and put them primarily into restoring Lakeview with a specific focus on West End. I am the Vice President for the Friends of West End organization and through this I've gotten the ear of several City Council members as well as a state Senator.

It's amazing that five years out and nearly every FEMA project worksheet for rebuilding public infrastructure for West End still is trapped in government bureaucracy - seriously not one iota of work has commenced. It made me laugh when media opined on how one year out from the federal stimulus package and most of the money had not been spent. Government moves like a toad - it's almost criminal.

Professionally I have become a full-time writer and journalist. I'm proud to say that my first book - a cookbook featuring recipes from the top New Orleans chefs and beautiful artwork from many established and up-and-coming artists - has finally been released.

Three other projects are in various states of production and the second cookbook of this four part series should be out in the fall.

I am also still actively covering the Gulf Coast's competitive sailing scene for Sailing World magazine - in fact, I'll be racing across the Gulf of Mexico in May from Pensacola to Isla Mujeres, Mexico - normally an incredible 5 day journey across a saltwater desert.

Cheers until next time.

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