So devastating was the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and the flood that ensued, that many of us find it difficult even to remember things that happened between January and August of this past year. When people bring up an event from last May, for example, many are likely to wonder aloud: Was that this year ... or last? Even 2005 milestones in our own personal lives that occurred "pre-K" seem as though they happened a decade ago. Katrina didn't just wash away our homes and offices; she scoured our individual and collective memories as well.
This year as before, Gambit Weekly takes a fond -- and sometimes irreverent -- look back at the year that was. As usual, we poke fun at the dubious achievements of our local leaders and mourn the passing of those who left their mark on New Orleans. We also recall the memorable skirmishes that erupted over decisions large and small. But this time there's a special poignancy to our reflections. As we gaze back over the past 12 months, events naturally fall into two categories: "Before Katrina" and "After Katrina."
Unfortunately, the "after" part of the story is still all around us, and it's likely to remain with us for a long, long time. But, as we recount for our readers the events of the first eight months of 2005, we hope that those "before" stories will not only remind us of how special our city once was -- but also inspire us to recapture its uniqueness in the days to come.