I went home to southeastern Louisiana
to visit my family over spring break. Between family visits, Dani
and I spent much of our time there checking out post-Katrina Louisiana.
Although I figured there would be a few interesting sights, I had no idea
just how much devistation remained.
Katrina hit August 29, 2005, roughly
six and a half months ago. There simply is no way for me to convey
the scale here. Words fail and pictures are a sorry approximation.
You really have to see the place and spend several days driving around,
getting out of your car and walking, and then just dreaming about it at
night. That's exactly what I did, and I still can't get my head around
the sheer enormity of it all.
Here are some interesting facts and notes
I jotted down about post-Katrina Louisiana...
As of the middle of March 2006:
50% of traffic lights are still not functioning
in Orleans Parish.
The population of Slidell (north of the lake)
has grown by 50% to 80%. This is pretty obvious from the raffic alone.
There no still recycling program in Slidell.
The New Orleans public television station
(WYES 12) is still not on the air.
NO East only has ~20% of population remaining.
Almost all of the traffic lights are still
out in NO East and have been replaced with stop signs for the foreseeable
future. Not that it matters; there are so few people there it's like
a small town now.
In many areas, the only places open
are hardware stores. Ace was the only place open on one previously
busy stretch in Slidell... and its parking lot was packed to capacity.
A good primer to these galleries might be
the entry on Hurricane Katrina at Wikipedia which does a better job of
summarizing the details of the hurricane than I can here. That entry
can be found here.
Some of these galleries might
start to seem redundant in their repetition of scenes of devistation, but
think about it in terms of the fact that it's one person's home after another
and another and another.
I look at the galleries that I'll be posting
over the next few days as historical documents, as records of something
that is (and hopefully will be) a once in a lifetime event. If you
see any of these pictures or my comments as exploitive or insensitive,
then don't bother viewing this galleries. You know I have (at my
best) an ascerbic wit. If you're still on my friend list, odds are
you expect me to make light of even the worst.
Oh, and I caught myself slipping up in
these pages, so here's a quick key in case I missed any:
If I say "the lake" I mean Lake Pontchartrain.
If I say "the river" I mean the Mississippi
If I say "the Quarter" I mean the French Quarter.
For those unfamiliar with urban
exploration, it's the act of exploring things that are man-made.
This could be abandoned buildings such as (e.g., houses, factories, etc.),
drainage tunnels (my favorite, actually), or whatever.
The basic rule is take only pictures,
leave only footprints. In short, for all these galleries, sure,
there was some trespassing. But. There was no breaking
in. I only entered open doors. Further there was no
looting. (This included passing over a pair of size 10 boots!)
If you are an explorer, I recommend you
Don't Walk to New Orleans and the surrounding areas to check out these
Ray's House (Slidell, LA)
Subdivision (New Orleans East, LA)
Complex (New Orleans East, LA)
Childhood Home (New Orleans East, LA)
9th Ward (New Orleans, LA)
Ward Library (New Orleans, LA)
9th Ward (New Orleans, LA)
Lowest 9th Ward (New Orleans, LA)
9th Ward, Along the Levee (New Orleans, LA)
see the following journal entries:
- Excerpts from emails between a friend in Louisiana and me safely in Texas.
- A detailed description of some of the post-Katrina sights around Louisiana.