I’ve never articulated, publicly, why I came back to New Orleans. But I’ll try.
I own property here. I have a job here. In some ways, coming back was the path of least resistance. Also, New Orleans is a unique city that I’ve come to love.
All of which is true enough. But property can be sold, and I could find another job elsewhere. There are other cities, other places I could connect with and even love.
The truth is I came back for another reason. I came back because of curiosity. I came back because I’m interested. The rebuilding of New Orleans will surely be one of the most significant stories in the nation’s history, certainly the most significant of my lifetime. I used to think the terrorist attacks of September 11th would be the defining event of this age. Maybe they were. But Katrina looms large, and decades from now I believe we will still be looking back at the disaster in awe and dread. Hopefully we’ll look back at the recovery in a more positive light.
Anyway, I couldn’t imagine sitting on the sidelines. I couldn’t imagine watching the reconstruction from afar. Perhaps if some great opportunity had presented itself elsewhere — but it didn’t. And so I felt I had to come back. And right now there is no place I’d rather be.
To my friends who are not returning to New Orleans, or who are here but are planning to leave: I understand. It’s a tough decision. I wish you the best, wherever your destiny takes you.