As I got my haircut yesterday, Miranda, the young woman from Houma who was snipping away at my gray folicles, was talking about various mundane things. She said she enjoyed the holidays this year more than usual. Why, I asked? Because there wasn’t the pressure to have a certain kind of gathering. She and her family got together in a very informal way and just relaxed. Miranda had a good time at New Years, discovering a new restaurant with her boyfriend that she would never had found had it not been for the fact that she waited until the last minute to make reservations and found that it was impossible to get into the better known restaurants. In short, Miranda struck me as very adaptable and largely optimistic. I asked her directly how she viewed life in New Orleans these days.
"It’s okay I guess," she began. "I have lots of work and I love this city. There is no other city I’d rather live in."
"So you are planning on staying then?" I inquired.
"I don’t know." Her voice was lilting. "I’m going to give it until next May and see how things are. I’m not happy with the politicians. Why can’t they make decisions that have to be made? Why are they wasting so much time?"
"Well, what would have to change for you to want to stay? What’s the main thing that you are looking for?"
"The levees," she said without hesitation. "I’d have to know that the city was going to be made safe. I don’t want to live here if they can’t rebuild the levees right. I’m not going to live here unless I believe they are going to fix the levees."
"So, if you didn’t live in New Orleans where would you go?"
"I don’t know. This is the only city I ever wanted to live in, and I think it’s the best city for me. I’m not sure where else I’d live, maybe San Diego because it’s warm there and pretty. I’ll have to see. I’m planning to take some trips in the next few months to check out some places I might like."
After further conversation with Miranda I was left with the impression that she was definitely a cheerful person who loves creativity and has a passion for the offbeat. She loves New Orleans, but she’s not sure she can stay. I wonder how many other young people have the same thought pattern as Miranda? I’ve heard more than a few people say that they have a certain timetable for deciding whether to stay here. And I know a few who have already left.
Everyone is weighing their options. And, for some reason, it makes me sad.