I just got out of a Marigny association meeting with Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson (aka the mother of actress Patricia Clarkson). The place was packed with residents of the neighborhood, many of whom were out for Jackie's blood. "If you have a problem with it, elect someone else," she said several times during her talk, in which she detailed the work she's been doing the past two months and why some neighborhoods are recovering faster than others. A lot of it, of course, is just plan luck. And another part of it is just the total chaos and staff shortages that have followed. City Hall had no phone or email access until two weeks ago, when one of her staff was finally able to retreive 1400 emails that people believed she had ignored.
Finally, after 30 minutes of minor complaints, a woman stood up and screamed: "I'm so embarrassed, after all that has happened, that my neighbors are sitting here complaining that they don't have cable service restored!"
Much applause followed.
Yet, for those of you who might not have a sense of what it is like to live here:
There is no garbage collection.
Bellsouth estimates that phone and internet will be restored by the end of the year.
There is no gas--and Entergy is asking for residents to pay for their own gas line inspections and certifications, even when there is no sense of when it might actually be restored.
The biggest jawdropper was this: Next week the Red Cross will open its first two service centers in the city. And this is only after two months of begging.
And yet, the weather is gorgeous, the people are great, and I have absolutely no regrets about returning.