Summing up New Orleans

It’s something a lot easier said than done. I’ve experienced so much in my time here, it’s hard to know really where to begin. From meeting the Zephyrs staff who have worked tirelessly to bring baseball back to a city that so desperately needed an escape, to wandering the French Quarter, to be sure quieter than usual, but still full of life, good music and great food.

There was the tour of areas like the  9th Ward, which I’m not sure I’ll ever truly be able to grasp. The scope of the damage isn’t anything you can comprehend on TV. Miles and miles of destroyed, gutted, abandoned houses. The sight of search dogs still in the 9th Ward seven months after Katrina is something that won’t leave me soon.

And oh yeah, there was baseball (Astros prospect Jason Hirsh pitched pretty well, by the way). Tonight was Opening Night here and around the Minors, something I almost forgot with all of the surrounding stories we covered. And it was a terrific opener. Zephyr Field was jam-packed, a sellout. The new scoreboard worked and everyone was entertained by both the game and the usual on-field promotions. A good time was had by all when a good time was really needed by all.

And that’s what I leave New Orleans with. Certainly not with rose-colored glasses because what I saw on that tour will constantly remind me of the suffering people have gone through, how much needs to be done and how not enough has been done by important people to this point. But the combination of the commitment of the Zephyrs to stay here and to work endlessly to get things ready for this community, the resilience of the people who came out in droves to simply watch a game, and the vibrance of a great city, albeit muted, that still tries to get out fills me with something I haven’t felt when thinking about this region in quite some time: hope.

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