ORN: Sunday; 8.2 miles, 1:20:24, 9:47/mile R4/W1
I got back from New Orleans at 4:30am on Sunday after a most amazing yet sobering week. Words really are inadequate to capture what we saw. In short, though the commercial and tourist portion of New Orleans is well recovered from Katrina, the residential areas remain devastated, even 18 months after the storm. We spent our time in these residential areas and focused on four houses. We reinforced a foundation washed away by receding flood waters, installed wall insulation, rebuilt porch railings, installed siding and repainted an apartment. This was certainly an encouragement to four households; yet the breadth of the devastation, leaving 200,000 homes destroyed or unlivable, made our efforts seem like a drop in the ocean.
I’ll be writing more over the next week or so on a different blog. When I do, I’ll post a link here.
I did manage to get three four-mile runs during the trip. Even these were affected by Katrina, though, as is everything in New Orleans. The main streets seem in good repair but side streets were incredibly uneven. Potholes the size of a dining room table sat next to concrete slabs heaving out of the ground. The hydraulic pressure of all the water wreaked havoc on the streets. It was, quite literally, unsafe to drive faster than 6-7 mph on a side street. These outings felt more like trail runs than pavement pounding; I had to watch each step to make sure I didn’t trip. Nevertheless, it was fun to explore a city on foot while running.
Sunday afternoon, I got the energy to do a long run here on the Celery Bog trail. I felt a good connection to my running pals in the Pacific Northwest, as the crisp and sunny 52F afternoon made a perfect match for my Portland Marathon finisher’s shirt and shorts. The run went well; after fighting the ITB all winter, a pain-free long run is a real gift.
Persevere. That’s what folks in New Orleans are doing. We dare do no less.