Monday, September 22, 2008

Recovery tour

Matt took us on a whirlwind tour of East New Orleans, Chalmette, the Lower 9th Ward, Gentilly and Lakeview - the areas damaged most by flooding after Katrina and struggling the most to recover from the disaster.
These are some of the houses being built in the Lower 9th by Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation. They look nice, environmentally friendly and more storm proof than the buildings that were previously here, but I don't know what this aesthetic has to do with the people, neighborhood and culture that existed in this location before Katrina.Most of the Lower 9th looks just as it did a few months after the storm when all of the debris was carted away.

The first of what likely will be several Katrina memorials sits along one of the Lower 9th's major thoroughfares. The red structure represents the ruins of a house and the blue columns depict the rising water levels during the flood.
On the west side of the Industrial Canal in the Upper 9th Ward, Habitat for Humanity is getting it right at the Musician Village, a cluster of historically and culturally accurate homes built for the city's displaced singers and band members. These pics show both sides of the same street.

I can't imagine what it's like to walk out the front door of your house every day and see empty overgrown lots and gutted abandoned houses across the road. I suppose you just get blind to it after a while, sort of like the way I dealt with the city's horrendous crime problem and decayed neighborhoods when I lived here.
These is the massive new pumping system constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers at the mouth of the London Street Canal, one of the waterways that burst through its levees during Katrina.Back in Chalmette, it was great to see that Rocky & Carlo's was open again, and that the "ladies" are still welcome. The restaurant is still serving up a classic Yat cuisine, including macaroni and cheese smothered in red or brown gravy and wop salad.

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