Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Celebration

Every wedding is a celebration of life and love and the triumph of the human spirit, but this is particularly true of the wedding I attended last night.

Alison and Bobby had originally planned to be wed in the fall of 2005, in their hometown of Chalmette, St. Bernard Parish. And then Katrina smashed their world. It destroyed the home they’d bought and were renovating for their life together. It destroyed the school where Alison taught, the office in which Bobby worked as an accountant. It destroyed the homes of Bobby’s family, of Alison’s parents, grandmother, two sisters, and other family members and friends too numerous too mention. It destroyed the church where they had planned to say their vows, the reception hall where they’d thought to dance on their wedding night.

But this Louisiana family is tough, and the bride’s mother, Sue, is a true steel magnolia matriarch. Though scattered across the country, they slowly began to rebuild their lives. Alison and Bobby once again began to plan for their married life together and the wedding that would begin it. None of them now lives in St. Bernard Parish. Last night’s wedding was in a church in Jefferson Parish, although the priest was himself a refugee from St. Bernard. Yet as I looked out over that assembly of friends and family who had lost so much, I saw only smiling faces. When the bride and groom exchanged their vows, both were wiping away tears, but these were tears of joy.

I always choke up at weddings. But this wedding was special. So here’s to you, Alison and Bobby. You give us all hope.


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