Hurricanes, COVID, Manuscripts, Clapton, and the Saints:
Life along the Gulf Coast has been challenging these days—to say the least. Like the rest of the world, we have struggled with the pandemic. As a teacher, I have experienced the complexities of hybrid teaching. Students have been online and in my classroom. This year, the students are in person, but numerous students and staff have quarantined because of COVID. Since the students no longer have the online option, they often fall behind in their work. Seeing that they catch up is a problem and additional challenge.
In Louisiana, nature threw us another harsh reminder of our frailty. Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana with savage ferocity. In New Orleans, we were spared the hurricane’s most powerful wrath; however, the coastal communities of Grande Isle, Jean Lafitte, and Houma suffered catastrophic damage. In New Orleans, the downed trees and power lines resulted in loss of electricity and internet/cable. Hubby and I stayed for the storm but soon evacuated to Biloxi once our roof received the necessary tarp. Most of the people in the New Orleans area dealt with some form of damage, but our ordeal was nothing like our more coastal neighbors. As of this writing, power and Internet are restored. School, however, won’t start for some of us for another month. My school, for example, has to dry out until the start of October.
This enforced time away from my day job has given me the time to write. I completed one manuscript and will soon research and complete another. This time away from the hectic schedule of grading, meetings, and teacher gossip has allowed me more time for reading as well. I have enjoyed many books by modern and not-so-modern authors as I also deal with roof repairs and generator maintenance.
Yes, we also have signs of normalcy returning to our community, but both COVID and the pandemic have changed the landscape and how we socialize. Our New Orleans Saints have played two games away from our Dome because of Ida’s wrath. One game was phenomenal; the other showed us where we had to improve. Like all New Orleanians, we had to produce our vaccination cards when we watched the game in a public place. (Thank God!) We also saw guitarist Eric Clapton live in New Orleans. We produced our cards again and wore our masks throughout the show. Yes, “normal” is returning, but “normal” will forever be different from what it was.
Like the characters in many of my books, we have adjusted to the times. Change and adaptation are necessary in this life. People who lived during Prohibition, WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII all had to adapt, change, and adjust their lives. Such change only makes us strong and proves our resilience.