Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lowa Nint Wawd

The neighborhood worst-hit by Hurricane K lived up to its billing, and then some.

After more than eight weeks back at home in New Orleans, we ventured for the first time into the Lower 9th Ward Saturday afternoon. We crossed the Industrial Canal just a few blocks from my house in the Bywater neighborhood then turned north.

Before long, we were in the middle of a vast wasteland stretching more than 100 city blocks in all directions. Everywhere we looked were empty foundations where houses once stood, cars tossed around like toys, towering piles of rubble and a ubiquitous blanket of gray dried mud.

More than three months after the storm, the only signs of life there were the other catastrophe tourists cruising the area and a handful of people sifting through the wreckage of their homes.

We got an up-close look at the mammoth barge that rested on the neighborhood side of the levee after floating through the barrier during the early hours of Katrina.

I expected things to be bad, but the reality was beyond imagination. I won't be making a return trip anytime soon.

Top pic: The force of the flood water from the Industrial Canal (off camera about four blocks to the right) pushed everything in its path the other way, creating a vertigo effect along some streets.

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