Ten years... As with most landmark events in our lives, reliving those raw emotions make it feel more recent yet with all that has happened it seems a lifetime ago. This weekend, August 29th, marks the ten year anniversary of the wrath of hurricane Katrina, the failure of our inadequate federal levee system and the near destruction of our city and our lives.
Maybe we are different than most but Kerry and I don't want to look back, we don't want to see the exhibits, the photos and footage of what happened to our city and our homes. We don't want to reopen the wounds and relive the helplessness and hopelessness we experienced when our "super power" of a government failed to take care of its own and for days left people stranded without food or water. It was awful, it was heartbreaking and it so frightening to realize that everything you hold dear can be washed away in a day.
We'd rather focus on the positive, how far we've come collectively due to continuous flow of people, money and energy that pour into the city. Our city is changed forever and the progress we've made would have taken 30 years instead of 10 in our dysfunctional slow moving southern culture. Our lives are changed forever, the people we know, the places we visit and the work we do have taken a path that otherwise would not have happened. Swirl, which has consumed our lives for the past 9 years, would probably not have happened, at least not in its current location. And it would be very different place because swirl is what it is by virtue of the spirit from which it grew.
To all of you who weren't here yet, those were tough times in New Orleans. Collectively dealing with the destruction of entire neighborhoods, losing jobs, rebuilding homes, fighting with insurance companies, friends and family leaving the city in droves - we were all struggling to find our way. Returning and rebuilding were never even a question for Kerry and me. Our faith in our city and the resilience of its people were enough to keep us here; and as Chris Rose so appropriately stated, "the longer you live in New Orleans, the more unfit you become to live anywhere else..."
Just returning wasn't enough, we wanted to be part of the rebuilding, investing our hearts and our pocketbooks in our beloved, broken city. And I can tell you, it was an uphill battle and a drama filled start, but that's another story...! It was, and still is, the neighborhood support that kept us going. Because somehow through it all, Swirl became a place where people gathered and shared their stories, a bright spot in the midst of the post-Katrina madness to clear your head, rest your feet and have some good wine while you were at it!
Well thankfully the conversations have changed since then, but the feeling in the shop remains the same - a friendly, comfortable spot to sit and relax with friends over a nice glass of wine; a place where you can bring your dog, your kids, your date or your grandmother to and feel good about being there. A special place, that you've helped us create filled with lots of great, positive memories over the years.
And now, 10 years later, we have come so far. As people, a community and a city, we have persevered, flourished and now finally find ourselves settling in to a very good rhythm that we hope will continue for many more years....Thanks to all of you, our dearest friends, family, supportive customers, who have helped to keep us moving forward through it all.
*PS - We might put on our evacuation clothes (yes we still have them!) and go to swirl for a drink on Saturday. Or we may just go on like it's any other day. I'll keep you posted!