Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rebuilding New Orleans - California Dreamin' Part III

I know precious little about what is going on in New Orleans these days, other than the dire tidbits of news coverage showing the place essentially still devastated. My company is a subcontractor to Fluor doing FEMA work, mostly damage assessment and engineering. I haven't had a chance to really talk to some of our people who went out there. It required a three month commitment so I never signed on for FEMA work.

Flying down to Oakland last week I struck up a conversation with the flight attendant in back, an African American. He liked the fancy metal luggage tag I had on my computer bag and wanted to know where he could get one. He asked me what I did and we talked a little about geology and mold. His girlfriend studied geology at the University of Louisiana. When we hit on mold, he told me he had bought eight houses in New Orleans and was in the process of gutting and rebuilding them. He'd had mold abatement done. But his optimism about New Orleans was what really struck me. "It's coming back" he said, "better than ever." I believed him. It gave me a lot of hope and optimism about the future prospects for New Orleans. I wondered how many others like him were doing the same thing. Perhaps this is how New Orleans will come back, from the grass roots. And the Saints are undefeated so far.

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