Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Little RV Surveys the Still Visible Scars from Hurricane Katrina

Yesterday we intended to rest before leaving New Orleans.  That didn't happen.  I needed to make a grocery run so I got up early and loaded Grant into the truck for a ride and some play time outside.  Having no idea where I was going I relied on my smart phone's navigation program to guide me.  Along the way I noticed there were a lot of really rough looking houses and many that were completely boarded up.  

On the way back to the Little RV I missed a turn because I was winging it and not using my tools.  I noticed this house with the markings we kept seeing on television right after Hurricane Katrina.  They were the markings the rescue teams used to indicate whether a house had been searched and if so, what the outcome was. 

I thought it would be unusual to see these markings and wondered if these houses still be boarded up because of the damage from Katrina?  

Once I got back home and I talked to Rob about what I had seen and he wanted to take the camera out for a look around some nearby neighborhoods.  We discovered that we were fairly close to the Lower 9th Ward which took a really hard hit from Katrina.  The area is surrounded by canals, the lake and the Mississippi river and the flood waters took months to recede.  

We were indeed within just a few miles of what remains of the Lower 9th Ward.  You can see that the neighborhoods were quite tightly packed with rows and rows of little houses.  Now I would guess that less than a fourth of them remain.  Many of those are boarded up and have been overtaken by weeds and vines. 

This building was not even boarded up.  There was a great deal of debris inside.  

The main roads through the neighborhoods were in decent shape but all of the side streets were buckled and had huge potholes.  Some were completely impassible.  

While we were looking around we stopped to talk to a woman who was cleaning up around a house that was in pretty bad shape.  She said she was with a church group.  She told us the owner of the house was a woman who had been relocated to South Carolina after the hurricane.  The owner was born in that house and the church group was helping her make it liveable again.  She also mentioned that over the years since Katrina the owner had been ripped off by shady contractors and she had lost all of the money intended to rebuild the house. 

While we were driving around the area we notices there were some very modern looking new houses here and there.  I discovered that these are the houses Brad Pitt and his organization are building.  There are roughly 90 completed so far.  They are supposed to be hurricane proof and they are very nice.  The style seemed so out of place.

We drove over to the Gentilly district because I wanted to show Rob some old buildings I had seen on the way to the grocery store. 

I'm going to have to do some research to see what these building were used for before they were closed down.  I think at one time they were very beautiful.

We had no idea that more than 7 years after Katrina so much damage remained. 

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