Something will be there when the flood recedes. We know that. It will be those people now standing in the water, and on those rooftops - many black, many poor. Homeless. Overlooked. And it will be New Orleans - though its memory may be shortened, its self-gaze and eccentricity scoured out so that what's left is a city more like other cities, less insular, less self-regarding, but possibly more self-knowing after today. A city on firmer ground.