Right now a large chunk of my family is assembled in the median on St. Charles Avenue near that chinese/cajun/soul food place with the $4 catfish po-boy the size of my arm (that is if that place still exists) dressed in coordinating costumes, no doubt already drunk as Cooter Brown, full of beads and celebrating as they have done for ages. My uncle and his brothers have engineered a toilet out of a tarp, a ladder, and a pickle bucket. There are tubs of chicken and biscuits, coolers of beer and wine, and ladders with bench seats nailed to them for the kids to get a fair chance at some of the goods coming off the top tier of the floats. Zulu, Rex, Elks we’re talking a radio flyer full of beads, doubloons, and maybe even a moonpie.

Most of my family lives on the West Bank and was not hit as hard as most in New Orleans. But every single one of them has a story. And a few of them chose not to return after evacuating. My Grandfather did not survive his evacuation from the nursing home. He passed a month before his 91st Bday. I had a chance to see for myself what was up in the Crescent City 2 months post Katrina. It was unbelievable. Even in the least affected areas, daily life was just one headache after another. Forget regular mail delivery, forget trying to get to a grocery store. And the waiting….lots of waiting in line.

I was in line behind a FEMA guy from Boston at the airport. In his Boston accent he swore they are building a better New Orleans. I have a hard time believing he knew what New Orleans really was to begin with. Dude, you just had to be there. We were rudely interupted by the crazy woman in line going totally freak on me for having an e-ticket. Poor nut job obvilously having had enough of the waitng waiting waiting on the lone counter attendent to process all of us. She even got mad at me for offering her my place in line. She looked stressed, I was not. Mr. FEMA looked scared. I cut her a little slack. I might be a little irritible too, if I lived in the Big Uneasy.

So, Hellz yeah, I hope you guys are having a blast in NOLA. That is one city that could certainly use a drink.