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"We've been blessed," Bob says—incongruously, one might think, but he says they will emerge stronger in affection for each other and their friends. "We're not a suburb of New Orleans," he emphasizes. "No. We're St. Bernard. St. Bernard is not a parish; it's a family."
Daily life, Sandra allows, is a struggle. "It never ends. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. It's just another battle with the insurance company, with FEMA, whoever. Yesterday while I was getting dressed for work, I thought I heard the doorbell. I burst out crying. 'What am I thinking? We don't have a doorbell. That was the TV.' My husband said, 'Baby, we don't even have a door.'"
True: There is no door. But they intend to build one. Sandra's brother and sister, who lived on this block before the storm came, are not coming back, but she and Bob are staying. "That's one thing we won't do, is stop fighting," Bob says. He expects to have the house finished in a year and a half.
© Copyright 2006 National Journal
Jonathan Rauch is a senior writer and columnist for National Journal and a frequent contributor to Reason. The article was originally published by National Journal.