Thursday, December 14, 2006

Goodbye, Balis Drive

Yesterday marked a milestone of sorts for me: we drove up to Baton Rouge and cleaned out the storage room we rented in the dark days after Katrina, when we needed someplace to go with the items we were salvaging from our flooded house. There was a time when the unit was packed, although in the last few months its contents have dwindled to a few boxes and a table a friend salvaged from her flooded Midcity pied-a-terre. We still have another storage room, here in New Orleans, but because we rented it before the storm when Steve and I were combining our two houses, its existence is not as permeated with Katrina-trauma.

Just driving into that section of Baton Rouge behind Albertson’s and Wal-Mart has a nasty effect on my physiology. My stomach begins to churn, my heart pounds, my breath grows rapid and shallow—the full gamut of what one clever writer called “cardiopulmonary hyperbole.” Unfortunately, there is no original way to describe the way the human body reacts to stress, and every time I drive down those streets, I’m transported back to the fall of 2005, headed back to Sam’s apartment after another long, exhausting, heartbreaking day spent gutting our house, the rear of the SUV stuffed with another load of books, china, lamps, odd bits of furniture.

I hope I never have to go there again.


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