Recovery Perspective

Louisa St.   01

An old friend of mine is here visiting from Chicago with the Hairdressers Unlocking Hope project, they are building a house in Slidell today.

Yesterday, I took Jeff and his friend around the city for a tour of the complete area to show them where we are in recovery. This was previously known as the “disaster tour” but honestly, it’s impossible to give that tour anymore. Things look very good throughout Lakeview but less good in Gentilly. It was hard to give them the picture of how far we have come. Driving from one end of Louisa down back into the Marigny one can still see the devastation clearly but so much of it takes more dramatic language to convey what you could once simply see that this task of the tour is much different.

We saw the housing projects being torn down and I had to explained how much demolition is happening throughout the city. We passed many, many empty lots where there used to be dense housing in many areas but it seemed so impossible to explain what a war zone so much of the city looked like before. The brown landscape, the smell, it all seems like another world today. So many houses are freshly painted and landscaped now, contrasted with an empty, open house every couple of houses. I have become accustomed to this but they seemed shocked by the amount of empty, gutted homes throughout the city.  

Jeff noted the many FEMA trailers and sympathized with people who have been living in them for more then two years now. I know that areas in the lower wards are still struggling but I was quite amazed at how much progress seems to be happening and how much giving this tour had changed and how hard it was to narrate. I had to look up this old photo of myself doing the Population Survey back in 2005 when I returned to remind myself.

While this tour was optimistic, when asked if we’d flood again, unfortunately, I had to say we still feel there is a big risk for flooding, we could still see the loss of property again in some areas if faced with the threat of a low category storm today. We just don’t know until the Army Corps is tested again. This is somewhat hard to tell someone who is investing their time and energy in helping people rebuild. I spoke at length about how volunteers and faith based organizations have helped New Orleans. As Craig, said, we could never repay them.

1 Comment so far

  1. fsfrspfl on June 29th, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

    I agree that protection of the metro area from flood in future hurricanes is essential. Innovative designs are needed in order to protect the city effectively in the near future. immediate solutions for restoration of coastal marshlands are also needed. Some possible solutions are detailed at

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