I guess I'm not surprised. I live on the U.S./Mexico border and have worked in the Mexican state of Baja California as a journalist. I long ago learned to take off one pair of glasses and put on another pair when crossing from San Diego to Tijuana -- to fully let go of one set of expectations and assumptions and embrace another. By comparing Tijuana only to itself and to Mexico, I eventually came to experience the city as a local, and allowed it to unfold before me and show me its many unique charms.
So, after more than a month in New Orleans, my brain thinks it's normal for MPs in Humvees to drive past the house, normal to walk out on the front porch and snag free food from a passing Red Cross truck, normal to have Meals Ready-to-Eat on the kitchen counter, normal for the power to go out when it rains, normal to be overjoyed and thankful when a FedEx package arrives as promised, normal for utility companies to claim they have no record of your previous inquiry or the inquiry before that, and normal for 80% of the city to be destroyed, dark and empty of people. After you drive through the Dead Zone enough times, your brain just expects it to be that way and you almost fail to notice.
Normal to see signs saying, "WE'RE BACK!!!" or "WE'RE OPEN!!!" Normal to drive to the suburbs to buy anything. Normal for everything to close at 6 p.m. because there aren't enough employees. Normal for curbs and sidewalks to be stacked high with really interesting garbage -- like computers, sofas, refridgerators, beds, entire trees.
I'll likely be going back and forth between California and New Orleans for a while. I'll just need to do what I do when I cross into Tijuana -- flip the switch from group of assumptions #1 to group of assumptions #2.