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We are saddened beyond words at the loss of homes and communities because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster. We want to reach out to the Japanese people to express our hope and confidence that they will overcome these terrible circumstances. Our hearts ache for them. We want to tell them that they must have hope.

After Hurricane Katrina (August 2005), we didn’t know that New Orleans would ever recover. We lived with friends and family far away from our normal routines. Work, which takes up so many hours in the day, wasn’t possible. We could not drive into the city. For many weeks, the signs on the interstate highway simply read “CLOSED” for the exit to New Orleans.

As we were unable to return, we could not repair our homes, re-establish our businesses and our lives. Every connection, every point of contact to home was tenuous at best. Sometimes it was hard to see a clear path. Taking one step at a time, we found our way to today. We are citizens of a city that has been tested by hurricanes, economic challenges and political corruption.

New Orleans has a long history balancing a celebration of our existence in the face of great tragedy. Five years after Hurricane Katrina, we can look back and recognize the success of the many small efforts that each individual made.

We reach out to the Japanese, to reassure them that they will recover. They will overcome. They are strong with a long history of resilience, both individually and collectively.

carla seyler

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