Note: This post originally appeared August 29, 2010. I thought it might be relevant to run again in light of the encroaching demise of the Times-Picayune.

The former site of a Shell gas station (corner of Napoleon and Claiborne avenues in the Broadmoor neighborhood) where on August 27, 2005 I gassed up about 10 hours before evacuating New Orleans. The water was more than 6 feet deep here. Memorial Hospital is a few blocks away.

We were supposed to have a garage sale on Sunday, August 28, 2005.  We had recently moved into a house we bought in Central City and had cleaned out our old Broadmoor apartment and planned to sell the odds and ends that didn’t make it to our new home. It was to be the final hurrah of our move. Suffice to say we evacuated the night before and the garage sale never happened. I didn’t get back into town for another three weeks, but there on the second floor of our old apartment’s stoop was our last Times-Picayune, still in the plastic and dry. I tossed the paper in the car and drove back to Houston. I finally pulled that newspaper out of its plastic bag this weekend.

Today’s Times-Picayune has a Jobs section that is 4 pages long, while the Jobs section in the 2005 Times-Pic was 14 pages long. Here’s what I assume is Charity Hospital’s last display ad:

A 16 year old girl who attended Chalmette High School died in a car accident on August 21, 2005.

On August 26, 2005 a man was shot to death in the Ninth Ward.  The Times-Pic reported:

His body was found on the north side of the street between a gray car and the sidewalk in front of Off Da Hook, a barber-beauty shop and music studio, and across from a neutral ground crowded with cars apparently parked by people seeking higher ground in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina.

Layers of misery …

Then, regrettably, there’s Sheila Stroup with a B-1 column called “Cat got what he wanted at church” : “This is the story of Grayson, a cat who went to church. He was an Episcopalian, and a loyal one.” Last 2 graphs: “Even now, after a month and an outpouring of sympathy, it’s difficult for Patty to go to church, because there’s no gray cat sitting in the foyer, no shadow to follow her home when Mass is over.” The cat died.

An editorial pushed the Orleans Parish School Board to approve the charter application for Lusher Alternative Elementary School. A couple letters to the editor and a Stephanie Grace column raked over the details of a recent scandal involving an audit of the Orleans Parish School Board that found questionable expenditures on  overtime and stipends.

And here’s a couple of news nuggets from 2005:

Greenspan says Fed will survive departure

JACKSON HOLE, WYO — Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed confidence Saturday that the central bank will meet the challenges that lie ahead after he steps down next year from the institution he has led for nearly two decades.’I have little doubt that my successors, and theirs, will continue to sustain the leadership of the American financial system in an ever-widening global economy,’ Greenspan said.

World record attempt kills Iranian daredevil

TEHRAN, IRAN — An Iranian daredevil died while attempting to break the world record for jumping over buses on a motorcycle, state television reported Saturday.  Javad Palizbanian, 44, was trying to leap over 22 buses parked side-by-side when his motorbike came down on the 13th bus, the report said… Minutes beforehand, Palizbanian had told an audience of hundreds: “I am going to break the world record and do something for my country to be proud.”

The Times-Picayune neglected to run our garage sale ad.

***

Yesterday as the sun was going down I took our dog for a walk in our Central City neighborhood. It had rained all day but in the west a blue window of sky opened. As I walked stunned by the blues, oranges, and grays of the clouds and sky I berated myself for not bringing a camera (I bring  a camera with me on roughly half of these evening walks). I could only gawk and gawk I did. I turned up certain blocks just to keep my eye on that blue window as long as I could. I passed a guy sitting in the  passenger seat of a car with the door open. “How about that sky?” I said. He looked up. “Beautiful!  Just beautiful …” I turned the corner and saw an old woman on her porch. “How about that sky?” I said. She smiled and shook her head in awe. “Who could make something like that?” she said and entered into extended praise of god. To another old woman on another porch, “Isn’t that sky beautiful?” “Yes it is.” On the next block my eyes moistened. I ducked down a darkened block fearing I was about to lose it. I get why most of us try to edit sentimentality out of experience. It can be a little embarrassing. But it can be earned, too.

Derek Bridges lives in New Orleans, trading in words and pictures. A carpetbagger of long standing, he grew up in the top right corner of IL and later went to college in the middle cornfield part. He has also lived in MS and FL, for educational purposes only, and was diasporized for a time in TX.

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