The Purging of Bourbon Street

Today I puked.

I have braved dead bodies, dead dogs, dead cats, dead horses, open crypts and the swampwater filled streets of New Orleans. But my nemesis finally caught up with me.

Rotten food.

I knew it would happen and it finally did. At the end of Bourbon Street we stumbled upon Redfish. A fine restaurant that serves mostly seafood. The hazmat workers looked at me like I was crazy when I came close to shoot photos of them cleaning out the racks of the seafood freezers. But sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

I choked it back several times and then just decided it was stupid to try and put off the inevitable. So I tried to hold my cameras and press tags back and puked right there in the middle of Bourbon Street..... Three times.

With all the hurricanes, beers, bourbons and yes even a few $9 daiquiris, I have had ample reason to let fly on Bourbon Street but have always held my own. However, thousands of pounds of rotten fish, shrimp, oysters, crabmeat and even chicken being thrown in a giant dumpster, not to mention the sight of all that water and goo running down the gutter, was just to much to handle.

Later we did a story on the draining and body removal of the Charity Hospital morgue. I felt better about my intestinal fortitude when I stood over the stinking stairwell where dozens of bodies lay in a soup of lake water and sewage. The water yet too high for the Army and doctors to make the trek down, the presence of the bodies was still duly noted by all. We met the doctor who stayed with his patients and saved so many of them. It took the rescue crews six days to get to the hospital. With only enough power to run one respirator the residents patched together tubing and kept all 7 patients alive with one machine.

Earlier this week I heard the story of a young boy who went into heart failure at a hospital. Unable to revive him without any power the hospital crews cracked his chest and massaged his heart by hand during the evacuation by helicopter... to Houston.

As I think about that story now I wonder how it would change your outlook on life to be the doctor or nurse who kept that young boy alive. How would anything in your life really upset you after that experience. Could you ever really complain about anything again? Sometimes I long to have an experience like that one. An epiphany of great magnitude. But most days I realize I am probably not able to handle it.