These pictures were taken in July 2006 after much cleanup had been done .....

Click on the first thumbnail to the left. You'll be able the 'next' your way through the pictures.

Much of Greater New Orleans is a collection of ghost towns with mile after mile of abandoned homes.   Stop signs have been substituted on streets where traffic lights once worked.   Most of the street signs outside Orleans parish have disappeared.  Many one way roads no longer are marked as one way.   In areas where service has been restored some people have begun to gut and replace the interiors of their houses while not certain that others in the neighborhood will ever return.  

The pictures don't do justice to just how extensive the devastation is ....   the magnitude of the problem is so great that you have an instant respect for the will of the people to even attempt a recovery.  There is also in the back of the mind the realization that another hurricane or levee break would literally crush the morale of the rebuilders.

It is apparent that the government fed, state, city and private industry are playing a waiting game.   They are waiting to see if people return before investing in much of the rebuilding and conversely many of the people are waiting for the government and private industry to restore services before they can or will come back.

This is not to say that government rebuilding is not going on ... it is going on in a big way.  There are work projects everywhere you look ....  in Metairie e.g.   Metairie is an affluent and primarily white section of N.O.    I suppose one may have to allow that the philosophy is such that rebuilding the least damaged areas such as the French Quarter, the Garden District, Metairie first  will hasten the eventual rebuilding of other areas.    Whatever the reason it seems that reconstruction and return of services both private and government is concentrated on the more affluent sections of the city.    Much work too of course is being done on the levees .. there are cranes and earthmovers all along the levees especially where they were breached.

There are positive elements to the recovery.   When New York and much of the east coast had the big black out several years ago there was a very distinct change in the way New Yorkers related to one another.    People who would otherwise have no connection to one another began to connect in a visceral kind of way.    It is very apparent to me that this is happening in New Orleans  ... even close to one year later.    Everywhere you go in N.O. the talk is about the hurricane and the recovery, at homes, at the gas station, the grocery stores, the restaurants.    The anger is gone, maybe not completely, and humor now masks much of the pain.

New Orleans has for a long time had a reputation for it's labor force being somewhat lazy, slow to move, whiney.   You don't get that feeling now.  People are moving faster, thinking and talking faster.   There's a renewal in spirit it seems.   When I pointed this out to some of Kerry's brothers, they responded that it was because the people that remained in or returned to New Orleans are the more industrious.  Maybe so.

My wife Kerry's church growing up was the Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans.  The building was flooded in the storm.   Note that many houses were completely inundated for weeks and weeks especially in the lower ninth ward.   But if your house had only a foot or two of water (brackish water at that since Lake Pontchartrain is brackish), then you still better plan to gut the interior and start again.    Kerry's church is now completely gutted.  All that remains of the sanctuary are the studs, the support structure of the pulpit stage, and the large baptismal.   Volunteers arrive every day from all over the country.   We talked to a seminary student who directs the volunteers in the rebuilding process.   He said they've helped rebuild over 120 houses in the community ... which for all intents and purposes remains otherwise abandoned.    I was surprised at this as there was still plenty of work to do to rebuild the church.   You'd think that the spirit of the people would be down from all they've endured and all the work they have in front of them,  but the spirit is very strong and people are now matter of factly getting on with that which needs to be done.

Bruce Borner

Reactions received to the photos:

The destruction visited on the homes is terrible, yet the scenes of the marina you captured are, for me, the most sharply etched signatures of Katrina's presence.

The jpeg titled "Marina 14" is eerily compelling. The black canvas(?) forming a humanoid or scarecrow-like figure onboard at once conveys a personal attachment of the everyman boat owner *and* a ghostly spirit,  literally lost in the wake of supernatural destruction. I also spent a bit of time studying the first "Waterline" photo. It's a very spare and effective representation of New Orleans...the colors... And it also exemplifies the power of a title. Without the word "Waterline," I may not have grasped the significance of the parallel lines. *With* that single-word title, the code to the image is cracked in a BIG way. It causes the mind and imagination to see the back-story...the amount and force of the water!....

Eric Brotman - Audio Productions Engineer.. Fair Oaks, California

A Conversation:

The part about rebuilding the white areas frist?
That is a misperception.
why is that?
The areas that were not damaged or least damaged need to be made viable quickly as the rest of the comuunity depends upon them.
Growth will need to be taken on steps.
It is a very disturbing statement to many of us from N.O.
So much of the media and celebrity attention has been on the 9th ward. It is 85% rentals
Lakeview is one of the most affluent and devastated areas of N.O. and it has not received significant attention.
I wasn't thinking of the lower 9th
I was thinking of n.o. east Gentilly

We need to create some solid footing on which to stand so we can rebuild.
Gentilly has garnered very little attention. It is mixed B&W.
Almost all of the flooding in Metairie was from the drainage canals which do not have levees. The canals overflowed because the president of the Jefferson Parish pulled out the pump operators just before the storm.
The water was not pumped out and they emptied into the neighborhoods.
Old Metairie did get actual flooding because the water went around the interstate and came up the backside if Metairie.
The water would have been pumped out as it normally is.
That's why Gentilly started having deep water one night when you were there. The pumps were off and the streets filled up.
Two weather patterns met over Gentilly creating the deluge and the rain stayed on the srteets.
Pumps are vital to all of the neighborhoods.
The pumping station was invented at the turn of the century by A. Baldwin Wood.
Prior to that the city was along the river; the FQ, uptown and the neighborhood behind the FQ.
For the past 100 years as pumping stations were placed around the city it expanded outward for 200 years before that it was limited in size
many neighborhoods were farms or swamps
By the way, the Jefferson Parish city council voted down automated pumps for years before this happened.
Now the parish pres. is desparately trying to reclaim himself so he can get re-elected. They are building "safe houses" for the opreators.
N.O. has little financial resources at this point...like we're virtually bankrupt. We need to get what we can doen where it give us the quickest and easiest boost. We'll need to rebuild on that.
It will take years.
what about the feds ?
they give you money no?

That's a big *&*%^# mess.
As you know many people don't know what to do yet and are waiting to get through this hurricane season. They may be away and they may not have $$ or the where withall yet to deal with their homes. This is not a normal cleanup situation. Most people want to wait until after this storm season to proceed. I'd feel the same way.
Developers would love to get their hands on entire neighborhoods.
The storm season lasts from June 1 through Nov.

Colleen Wood - Entertainment Industry, New Orleans LA and Nashville TN

 

 

 

 

Post Katrina New Orleans
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