I spent Sunday morning second-lining down Esplanade Avenue to St. Anna's Episcopal Church with fellow parishioners and visiting priests and parishioners from about half a dozen other Episcopal churches outside of Louisiana. Leading the procession were the Storyville Stompers who reunited several weeks ago and began playing gigs again. A jazz mass followed at the church.
The visitors kept repeating throughout the weekend that the vast scope of damage in the flooded areas of the city was beyond anything they perceived through television and newspaper reports back home.
That's the same response that Rex gave a few days ago when I took him riding through the Lakeview neighborhood near the 17th Street Canal breach. He was stunned.
I've grown surprisingly accustomed to the reaction.
It's sort of like telling visitors they can carry cups of their favorite alcoholic beverage in the street without fear of police intervention. To them, it's an unbelievable privilege not enjoyed at home. To us New Orlenians, it's normal.
That's kind of how it feels now to live a few blocks from the Dead Zone. What shocks the visitor is just life in New Orleans to the rest of us.