This morning I woke up around 5 AM to sirens in the Marigny. The plant that manufactures Hubig’s Pies was aflame. An hour later the fire department still did not have the five-alarm blaze under control and the front of the building collapsed. That allowed the firemen access to get water on the building and by 6:30 it was going out. The building was a total loss.
Hubig’s Pies are iconic in New Orleans. Natives grew up on the snacks, and people speak about them with a reverence that Philadelphians speak of Tastycakes. It seems that everyone has their favorite flavor, from apple, to lemon, to custard and more. Hubig’s was founded in 1922, survived the Great Depression and survived Katrina. One of the great shots early on was a group of nuns, the Sisters of the Holy Family, distributing Hubig’s Pies after the storm to people working on their homes and to volunteers who then were mucking out houses.
While these things happen in all places what struck me in the midst was one person being interviewed who said, “What next?” While we all face struggles, the reality is that life will go on without Hubig’s Pies for a time. The thing is that it is part of the fabric of the community and people get tired after a time. It can become easy to think that the world is against you.
Picture Elijah. He had just triumphed over the priests of Baal with a great miracle, calling down the fire of God on a sacrifice. Then Jezebel sends word that she has put a price on his head and he will die. He has had enough and wanders into the wilderness, taking a seat under a broom tree feeling sorry for himself. One can call is fatigue, PTSD, or something akin to that. It is not new.
When a group of people come into the city; volunteering, giving of their time, their talents, and expending their treasures to help those in need, there is a renewal. Out of the ashes comes life. It gives strength to the weary.
Folks who are not yet home are still weary. People who are struggling in this economy are weary. Caring for one another gives strength and renewal to both. When I got into the car this morning there were ashes all over it from the fire – I am only about three blocks away. I need to go out, wash them off, and get on with life.