Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Post-K Depression: Redux

One of my friends is following the lead of the wild geese. Unable to find any viable job opportunities in the area that didn't involve flipping burgers or sacking groceries, one of my friends confessed earlier today that he's probably going to be moving to Texas in the very near future.

With news like that, articles like this are hardly surprising.

Before Katrina, when I was particularly depressed, I always had someone to go to. I had people I could call, friends I could visit with. After Katrina, that changed entirely. Many of my friends moved out-of-area, if not out-of-state or out-of-country; they had their own difficulties to surmount and I--and I'm sure, many others--didn't feel the need to burden our friends with our own troubles, especially because I was so fortunate.

In the fall, it was easier to deal with my difficulties; the Friday immediately after the storm, I was handing out bags of ice with DOW workers and trustees. I volunteered at shelters, helped organize fundraisers, and involved myself in other various service projects. I may have not have had any friends when I moved to Baton Rouge, but towards the end of the semester, I formed a kinship with C. and we became very close friends.

However, school ended and I had a place to return to in the New Orleans area. One of my friends who had been living out-of-state since the storm moved back to Baton Rouge. And while the distance between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is hardly remarkable, conflicting work and school schedules ensured that visits were infrequent, and often short.

In the spring, there were fewer opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering had been my way of distracting myself from my own unhappiness; I felt better while I was doing something. But in the spring, there were fewer opportunities to contribute on a regular basis. There were fewer fundraisers; shelters closed down. To make matters worse, my long-distance friendships that I had struggled to keep alive since September were slowly deteriorating. In the spring, I felt even worse than I did in the fall following Katrina.

So many of these studies fail to recognize that Katrina took away more than just life or property; it also brought about a loss of friendship and community. Most of us have long come to terms and accepted the death and destruction. However, friends--and subsequently, our own personal support group--continue to migrate every day.

Naturally, I'm sad to see P. go, but I hope he finds better opportunities in Texas.

Even if he is moving to Houston.


Blogger Michael said...

One point re: the unremarkable distance between Baton Rouge (aka Beaumont-Upon-Mississippi) and New Orleans...yeah, but when you factor in the "chaos theory as interpreted by NASCAR fans" um, driving ouvre, I guess, it becomes an adventure, and not in a good way.

I dunno--maybe that's just me--and, I confess, I've driven betwen NOLA and BR...hell, between NOLA and New (S)Iberia--when I probably shouldn't have...I've given that up (without disaster for others or myself, thank heavens). And I keep hoping common sense will prevail and rail service will be restored at least between the city and capital.

But your REAL point--the loss of community--is well taken. And while I'm joyful that SO MANY who've never felt any connection to the region are daily demonstrating concern--or doing QUITE a bit more--too many other fellow citizens seem so willing to write the city, and region, off...damn.

Those folks show, IMHO, an astounding disregard for the "American" values so prevalent here--contrary to their bizarre notions, we're not looking for a handout...just the opposite: the vast majority of people devastated by the flood, again IMHO, were people looking to do nothing more than live the "American Dream" or whatever the term is...indeed, many take pride in their independence, which has always been part of, well, my own pride in being from the region.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Thanks for the comment. :-)

I never liked the drive between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It's very, well, dull. An hour in a car from here to there feels like an eternity--at least when you don't have good company with you in the car.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ashley said...


Bwaaa haaa haaa haaa.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 10:33:00 AM  

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