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I knew I wanted to live in New Orleans the first time I visited in 1994 I loved everything about it—the culture, the architecture, the music, the food, the lushness, the heat, the attitude of the people. Why couldn’t les bons temps roulé? I didn’t figure out how to move there until 2005. I bought a house on August 18 and had my furniture from New York delivered the next day. Eleven days later Katrina came.

I evacuated to Houston, circled back to Baton Rouge for a few days, over-nighted in Birmingham and spent a month with my oldest friend in Atlanta. When she left for a new job in London, frustrated with trying to navigate my way through FEMA, I came to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I hadn’t planned to stay, just use this as my base until I could move back to New Orleans. It seemed extravagant but was actually cheaper than setting up temporary housing some place close to the New Orleans, especially since I didn’t own a car. But the recovery was slow. New Orleans was just a shadow of its former self when the restoration on my house was complete. I decided to sell. I could see that it would take years for the new New Orleans to emerge and wasn’t sure I’d like it, when it did. After several months, someone proposed a rent to buy agreement and I took it. Restored homes weren’t selling, only properties that needed renovation and could be purchased cheap.

I finally sold my house on May 28, 2010, three months shy of the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. What’s next? Who knows—trying not to micromanage my life, adopt a more go with the flow attitude. For now I’ll stick with Mexico. After years of New York’s complexity, I’m enjoying the simplicity of life here.

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