So, it’s been almost a year since Katrina. The question I get asked the most from friends around the country is, “Is life getting back to normal?” Well, that depends on your definition of normal, I guess. I think our “normal” has just changed. I’ll give some examples of things that are now normal to us in what was once a sprawling urban community:

  • Taco Bell closes at 10pm, even though all their products now proudly display the “Fourth Meal” logo.
  • There are only a handful (3 in our driving area) of 24 hour drugstores. This makes remembering to pick up t.p. or children’s Tylenol all that much more important.
  • Every few blocks or so, you’ll see a house that still hasn’t come back to life or has been torn down completely. And, this is in the inhabited parts of the city where I live. Don’t even get me started on the parts that still have water lines up to the roof.
  • There are only two real “malls” reopened in the city. This makes shopping online a necessity. You can only pick through the racks at the one Old Navy for so long before you realize that your size just isn’t there.
  • Driving out to the see the devastation is not a pastime. It only reminds you of the tragedy that occurred, it keeps you grounded, so you just can’t help but look.
  • Looking at all the cars with new license plates you are startled to realize that these aren’t just people who all wanted new cars. These are the people who are replacing their old ones.
  • Seeing new storms pop up in the Atlantic or the Gulf doesn’t really scare you anymore, you just pay closer attention.
  • You have the hotel you liked the most on your evacuation programmed into your cell phone.