December 25, 2006
-- Hurricane Journal --
Christmas in the parish
By Samantha Perez
Christmas Day, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana -- I’ve learned a lot about growing up in the past year and a half, and probably the most important of these lessons is that you never stop learning. This past semester taught me about loyalty, kindness, and human compassion.
Just in time for Christmas.
We put up our tree. It had been spared the flood in the attic above our garage, and now it stands in our newly furnished living room. The living room is different than what it was before, but it makes the house feel a little more like a home. We added our ornaments and stockings, and garland over the doors.
It was a real house for Christmastime.
More and more houses are being demolished by the parish, trying to meet a December 31 deadline to clear away abandoned structures. It doesn’t look as though they’ll tear them all down, but the parish does look cleaner. Roads are clear. Shops are opening — we have a McDonald’s again. Domino’s Pizza works out of a trailer in a closed bakery’s parking lot. Grocery stores are popular. We have three of them.
It never felt like Christmas until last night. Nothing really has that same magic, the same quality, anymore. Even though we have a tree and lights in our windows, it never felt the same because everything has changed.
To read the rest of Samantha's moving hurricane journal, click here.