I’ve been thinking a lot about things as they existed in July 2005, and then things as they existed through around October or November 2006. The prism for this reflection has been posts I wrote on my former website, accessed through the internet archive’s “Wayback Machine.”
I’m not sure what prompted me to revisit those old posts; I haven’t read most of them since shortly after I wrote them, and I am not entirely pleased with everything I wrote. In those days I had no editor, and it’s often apparent.
There are gaps in what’s available, because that’s simply the way the archive works – a program takes a snapshot of certain websites periodically, and posts that appear between snapshots aren’t archived. I suppose I have a backup of the website on a hard drive somewhere, but, to be honest, I’m not that interested in reading everything I wrote about food from around 2000 to the present.
Obviously, the period that does interest me is the time just before and the year or so after Katrina. Also obvious, I suspect, is that my interest is due to the 10-year anniversary coming up next month. That was a difficult time, and reading some of the blather I wrote back then makes me cringe. But now and again I felt like I was contributing something by driving around town taking pictures of restaurants and reporting on whether they were going to reopen. Here, for example, is a post from October 10, 2005.
I know that there were easier and more thorough ways to obtain the information I provided, but putting that stuff online and getting comments and emails made me feel better about things for a while. And that was nice, because this was not a very happy place to be back then.
I remember thinking that New Orleans would come back eventually, and like a lot of people I saw restaurants being a part of that recovery, but I sure didn’t see the number increasing so dramatically. In the last several days I’ve eaten at four restaurants that weren’t open 10 months ago, let alone 10 years.
I now live in a neighborhood that, when I drove through in November 2005, was absolutely devastated, and there are still structures nearby that are still abandoned. But every year I see fewer of those structures, and maybe 10 years from now they’ll be as rare as a block without a farm-to-table restaurant.
One can hope.