All's well that ends well, we suppose. We've all returned home after the storm. Andy returned quickly to New Orleans on Wednesday as duties called, and to check on the house which came through with minor damages. Trish and the kids returned last night, having moved on to stay with yet more kind friends farther north in Tupelo, MS, since we lost power early during the storm at our first evacuation stop. While less powerful than predicted, Gustav came onshore with unusual forward speed that carried hurricane-force winds far inland into central Louisiana, trashing main transmission lines and crippling the state's power grid. Now we are wearily keeping an eye on another large storm that also appears to be heading toward the Gulf.
New Orleans is a familiar mess, with signs and power poles askew and piles of debris temporarily lining the streets. Some new traffic lights were damaged and we are again handling these intersections as in Chinese cities, which isn't really so bad since it transforms something completely impersonal like driving into a kind of folk dance. It's this sort of thing that helps to make our city worth returning to; like that clear sense that everyone standing in line with you at the supermarket has come through the same ringer. While it doesn't erase complicated differences in race or socioeconomics it genuinely reaches across them, which is unique.
But this blog isn't really about New Orleans or hurricanes, except only indirectly. It's about little Henry and, in a larger sense, abandoned children with special needs and scarce resources--hidden away in far off corners of the globe. Sufficiently reminded by this storm of how lucky we truly are to have such wonderful friends, a special home, and each other, we'll reach into our well worn pockets to send another donation to help buy new clothes and shoes for older children at Henry's orphanage in Pingliang, Gansu.