Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Orleans

We have just recently driven from Texas to Virginia. We drove through Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Six states in 3 days. It was really interesting to see so many different sights along the way. We drove on interstate 10 through New Orleans and were really shocked at the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. Whole neighborhoods empty. I had seen pictures of the really poor neighborhoods on the news, but what surprised me was the amount of what seemed to be middle class homes destroyed. It seemed like the media had really highlighted the poorer areas and overlooked other neighborhoods. Maybe it was because these folks made it out of the area before Katrina hit. Maybe it was because there weren't any deaths in these areas. Maybe these people didn't lose everything and were able to start over somewhere else with relative ease. Maybe living overseas I had just missed these pictures. Looking out at subdivisions with every house having broken or boarded up windows really was indescribable. All of the fences surrounding the houses had disappeared in the flooding so we could see straight into some of the homes. We could see two or three temporary mobile campers set up in front yards where some families were staying. Other than those few campers the area was like a ghost town. Nobody was home. As I thought about all of the displaced people and then contemplated the few who chose to stay in a small camper close to their damaged home I couldn't imagine what they must feel like. If my home was damaged as badly as these homes were what would I do? I don't think I would choose to stay. In a neighborhood of 100 homes I have to wonder how do you start the process of cleaning up and starting over. If one family decides to work on getting their home in livable condition but no other family on that street chooses to do the same thing what is the value of the one repaired home? I can't imagine being the first one to make repairs hoping that others will follow in my footsteps. I would imagine at this point that many banks own these homes, but even then, how do you start to clean up? I think it would be a much easier process if only one or two neighborhoods needed repair. The thousands of damaged or destroyed homes that we saw seemed like a overwhelming task. I know those devastated by the storm probably feel that way.


Gina said...

It always seems more 'real' once you see it in person, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

When we were there last time, at the end of 2007, not much had been improved. I have an ex, and she and her partner are the only ones rebuilding on their street. The other houses are just gone.

Amazing that our government has yet to keep their promises.