I remember vividly that desolate summer morning when Katrina slammed ashore and turned this once vivacious city upside down.
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 a severe shortage of food and water. According to Senator Landrieu, Katrina was not the worst natural disaster in the US, it was the "worst man-made disaster." 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 destroyed lives.
Earlier this year, I had the golden opportunity to meet with some of the survivors as I ran along Mirabeau Avenue during the New Orleans Marathon. One inspiring gentleman, Noel, even invited me to his house where he showed me the incredible renovation he has done over the years.
So as I pushed on, the realization sinked in that the pain that I was feeling paled in true comparison to the pain that these victims of the most devastating natural disaster in the US 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 desolately.
Today, New Orleans is in the midst of rebuilding. This summer's Gulf oil spills has added a difficult facet to its comeback. But as the New Orleans Saints found a way to come back from being the worst of the NFL for many years to a Superbowl Champion, there is much hope for a city that resonates with a large dose of spirit and hope.