I find this to be a particularly challenging stage in the recovery of our city. The days and weeks immediately after the storm were just plain wretched. That goes without saying. But then, as the city sprang to life again, there was a sense of excitement, a determination to make things happen, and a hope that maybe, somehow, we could make things even better than before. Everything was hard, but it was also weird and fascinating. The destruction that surrounded us was awful, but also, literally, awesome.
Now, though, as the one-year anniversary of the storm approaches, this no longer feels like an adventure. It feels like a long, slow slog, the early stages of a many-year process of making the city whole again. I'm no longer shocked by the devastation. It's just the new normal. Problems of corruption, mismanagement, and crime, endemic to the city since long before the storm, have returned. The recovery of flooded neighborhoods is slow. The city government still has no coherent plan.
If it sounds like I've become a pessimist, I haven't. The city will return. True, some things will be worse. A lot of things will be the same. And some things will be better. But it's going to take a long time and a lot of hard work to get there.
I probably just need a nap.