Herbert Gettridge, 85, tries to start a weed wacker at his house on North Roman Street in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in December 2008. Gettridge and his family were the subject of a Frontline documentary by June Cross on PBS. It chronicles the Gettridge's effort to return to New Orleans and re-build his house after Hurricane Katrina. Having followed Mr. G. for more than three years, I can say it was not only a worthy undertaking, but a moving film. View my galleries on Herbert Gettridge.


I had a crazy dream last night: that we elected a black guy President of the United States. Somebody pinch me. Surely I'm still dreaming. Surely we're all still dreaming, and we're going to wake up once again in our cynical nightmare.

Last night as I watch with a mixture of pride, disbelief and awe, I thought first of my father, and what he would have thought of the election of Barack Obama. I know he would be proud. And then I thought, of course, of Dr. Jane Ellen McAllister. She would have been 109 if she were still alive. I believe she, too, would share our collective joy and amazement. Born in 1899, Dr. McAllister was the epitome of hard work and perserverance. For 50 years, she taught generations of young black teachers at historically black colleges and universities. She always liked to quote Winston Churchill, wagging a finger and speaking in a perfect British accent: "Nevah, Nevah, give up."

So now the great adventure really begins. But how do we lose the cynicism that has accumulated in the last eight years? How do we learn to trust our leaders again? How can we learn to heal? Now that there is change, can we still hope and dream, or will we have to worry about all of that tumbling down again. All I can say is that it's we have to start somewhere. So let us begin anew.

Ohio is still peaceful. Fall is upon us. It's nice to stay in a "blue" state again, even if I cast an absentee ballot in what remained a "red" state. I've been back to Louisiana periodically, but still can't shake the notion that I cannot be there, that I need to retreat to continue to heal from the wounds of Katrina. Accordingly, this is my last Katrina update. I long ago realized that I had nothing more I needed to say about Katrina. So now I have nothing else I need to write about. The galleries will remain up, but it's time to move on. I'll be back soon, hopefully with some new and different work. Until then, continued peace in the struggle.

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