I'll spare you the gory family details... suffice it to say, same crap, different year. I've made a new life long resolution though.... no more traveling for the holidays. Maybe then it will be different crap and different year.
I went to New Orleans to see all of my family, who are all now back in their homes. And I didn't realize until I got there how very unique and lucky my family is. Everywhere you look there are blue tarped roofs (a la FEMA), piles of debris and huge tree stumps from enormous trees that were pulled up by the roots during the hurricane. My cousin's husband's family were not as lucky as mine. Her husband's parents and brother lost everything, homes, and businesses. We drove to that area to see what was left and it was erie. It's like there are two parts to NO right now... a place that is almost normal, except that there is too much traffic and all of the stores have weird hours, like McDonalds being open from 11-4 and only the drive through... The other part is like a war zone, but after the war... no signs of life anywhere, front doors wide open and inside you can see the raw wood because all of the homes have to be gutted and treated for mold. You still see an occasional car on top of a fence or a boat on top of a roof or carport... furniture half way out of windows and curtains that are torn into strips flapping in the breeze in the broken windows. It's just odd. And my heavens, the smell. Oh, gracious the smell. Like open sewer or worse.
People that I talked to there are optimistic. They want to get everything restored, but it's going to take a long time... I've moved around so much that I don't feel particularly attached to any one place as "home", so I can't understand their position of "this is where I was born, raised, married etc... and I'm never leaving." But if that's what they want, I hope for their sakes it can be. As for me, I think I would be moving, permanently.