New Orleans. Charles, my Haitian cab driver, escaped Katrina, and quickly came back to work in the city. Quite the irony but more on that later.
I told him I’d returned about the same time seeing few women but plenty of male contractors and military. I shared with him that I was afraid seeing so few women around and smelling death.
Haiti. He told his story in a more matter-a-fact way. Charles escaped Haiti many years before the recent earthquake and cholera outbreak on the island.
New Orleans. He returned to transformed a limping distressed Crescent City two months after the hurricane and the flood waters had receded. He told me he got good pay but faced a housing shortage. A friend of a friend got him an hotel room.
Haiti. When I asked him more about Haiti. A fraught weighted silence filled the car signifying that his life had surely been troubled in Haiti, perhaps more so than his experiences in New Orleans before, during and after Katrina. As many have said to me, “Katrina was a bad girl.” Based on Charles’ heavy silence,the troubles in Haiti seemed a wicked step-sister in comparison
The irony: Charles escaped tragedy in Haiti but found another sort in New Orleans. He seemed happy though, grateful to be working and alive in New Orleans.