New Orleans, three years after Katrina

I was in New Orleans with a friend a couple of days before the Essence festival. Alas, we didn’t attend the Festival. While there, we decided to drive around New Orleans rather than take one of the advertised tours to see the remaining results of Hurricane Katrina.

After we finally found the Ninth Ward, we were sad to see how much devastation remains. It’s one thing to look at the bushes that have overtaken the streets and the homes and think storm; quite another to think that we were seeing the end of people’s dreams.

I could imagine people working everyday, raising their kids, enjoying their homes and their neighbords. Those days are gone. I hope that many of them are off to better situations in new towns, yet I feel a bit sorry for those who have returned. We saw streets with maybe five or six rehabbed houses and then twelve or eighteen that look like the hurricane happened last week. But what got me the most were the streets themselves. Grass/weeds were growing in the streets (the roads), bushes along the sides of the streets were so tall you couldn’t see around corners.

On a bright spot, we drove around Muscian’s Village, the joint venture between Habitat for Humanity and local musicians. I LOVED the colors of the houses.

So what does it all mean? Well, there seems to be a lot of work being done to rebuild New Orleans but I can’t help but wonder why it’s taking so long. Maybe you all can help me understand.

NOTE: I found the pictures of the Village and the ones of the devastation in Wikimedia Commons , where they have a lot of photos that you can use without paying.

5 thoughts on “New Orleans, three years after Katrina

  1. I found this an interesting blog. I visited New Orleans shortly before Katrina and loved it and have often wondered how different it is now. I hope to go again soon.
    Please enter me in the weekly giveaway also. Thanks.

  2. The “recovery” is happening so slowly because all of the politicians, civil servants, public officials, etc. stole all the money. Well, most of it anyway.

    Since the first year after the levee failures, many neighborhoods have home made street signs in place of signs missing. The Road Home program has been a complete failure, too. New Orleans is coming back in SPITE of the local, state, and Federal governments. I personally think that many officials are glad the levees failed. This is, to them, the opportunity to purge the city of its criminal element. Don’t believe me? Lakeview, an affluent white neighborhood, had MORE water than the Lower Nine (in some parts and has bounced back quite a bit. On the other hand, the Lower Nine, notoriously known as the “murder capital of the murder capital” before the storm, sits in a state of utter disrepair with a few people working their BUTTS off to make it work anyway.

    It’s this way all over town, too.

    It is my opinion that Louisiana doesn’t want the New Orleans of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Louisiana wants OLD New Orleans, that is, New Orleans before all the whites moved to Metairie, the North Shore, and the Westbank. And, actually, there are more white people in New Orleans now than there were in 2005 or 2004.

    Again, this is all just my humble opinion. I live in the French Quarter which hasn’t changed too much., but I am quite aware of the unique social class system here as well as the racial antipathy. This isn’t to say that “Katrina was planned.” That’s retarded. When the levees broke (the REAL disaster), it was because of a long period of negligence (about 40 years) from the Federal government on the FEDERAL levee system. Since, the flooding from the lake coming into the city, little has been done to preserve or sustain these poorer neighborhoods. Treme, right in the back of the Quarter, now has a significantly larger white population. Still, however, the neighborhood has its second lines, restaurants, and cultural museums.

    It is what it is, so if you ever want to move to New Orleans, just go with the flow.

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