I remember vividly that desolate summer morning when Katrina hit land and turned this once magnanimous city upside down.
Since my endearing college days, when I would embark on an yearly pilgrimage to N'awlins for Mardi Gras, this vibrant city of Cajun and Creole has been mythically close to my heart and cuisine.
But for the last ten years, I had failed to make my trek even after the levees separated and after my heroic hospital ship COMFORT sailed south to deliver aid.
Just like many cataclysmic events of grand enormity, Katrina is rifed with tragic controversy. Surely evacuation could have occurred earlier. The Convention Center and Superdome where hundreds of thousands of refugees stayed had no food and water. Where in the matter of mere hours, New Orleans had slipped from a popular tourist hub to third world decadence livid with homeless people, missing children, damaged homes and dead bodies.
That is why this purposeful run was so mega inspiring. It wasn't the run through Bourbon Street or the French Quarter that was so mythic or romantic. It was the marathon that took us through Mirabeau Avenue that gripped my heart and gilded the inner reaches of my soul.
So as I pushed on, the realization sinked in that the pain that I was feeling right now, paled in true comparison to the pain that these victims of the most devastating hurricane ever felt -- the remorseful pain that seared our collective images as we clicked our remotes -- the storm that Louisianans had always known would come, but forever feared it deathly.
Putting things in perspective, the last five miles became a dreamy cake walk and I look forward to remembering and revisiting the nice people (Noel, Joelle, Oliver) who so magnanimously invited me to their homes and gave me a slim but sensational taste of the sights, sounds and sorrows that echoed from the deadly eye of the storm.
Push on Survivors! We will never forget, will always praise, and will one day applaud your revival.
The rest of us will always support you.