New Orleans, Louisiana has a unique relationship with water. Lake Ponchartrain borders the city to the north and the Mississippi River presses in underneath. Canals and bayous zig-zag through most neighborhoods. Summer is stiflingly humid. And—as it turns out—North Robertson Street floods with heavy rain. That’s where I live.
A little context: I’m in NOLA for the summer working at 4.0 Schools through the Education Pioneers program. 4.0 incubates folks with ideas about the future of school and encourages them to take the step into entrepreneurship. I’m doing a data project for them, which is a broad term for a whole bunch of really interesting little projects. I’ve been totally thrilled with my time there.
But the city. New Orleans has been a whole separate kind of education for me. And last weekend the city taught me a new lesson.
Last Sunday afternoon it started to rain. It rains almost every day here in the summer. So, I didn’t think much of it. It rained really hard this time and it didn’t stop for a couple hours. By the time I noticed standing water in my street, my car was two feet under water.
Mine wasn’t the only car that got flooded so lots of my neighbors were outside together once the rain stopped. The carpet and seats were soaked in my 2005 Chevy Impala. My engine was unharmed and the electrical systems held up.
A guy across the street lent me his wet vac once he cleaned up his own car. That helped, but it became clear that I’d need to take everything apart to prevent rapid mold growth. So I did.
I’d never done it before so the process was tedious. Youtube helped a lot. My internship was understanding (I took the whole day off Monday) and this gave me the headspace and time to do a thorough job. I like working with my hands and in a weird sort of way the whole project was satisfying.
My car is dry now. It doesn’t smell. I know how to remove the seats and the carpeting—and replace them. And I have a quintessential New Orleans story to tell. I’m sure my Sanford classmates are having fantastic experiences out in D.C. and Geneva. I’m pretty thrilled with my time here in New Orleans.
Next time….Anthony actually writes about his internship!