The City, Not Long After
Our hotel here in New Orleans is actually on the west side of the metro area, near the Elmwood Village Center (which has new streets that aren't shown in our 2005 Prius' GPS system). We've been driving to and from the French Quarter these past few days, and we've seen a lot of houses that bear the marks painted by Katrina rescue crews:
That's a photo by Goodloe Suttler, from a Town Crossings article. The New York Times explains what the marks mean: building searched on September 10th by team C8, no dead found inside, hazard warning "EX." We saw a lot of houses still boarded up and marked "NE" (No Entry).
Of course, it's nothing compared to the photos our friend Jeff took in the fall of 2005, when he went to Waveland, Mississippi, to help with hurricane relief efforts. Debris everywhere, so much that it's hard to imagine where you'd even start picking up the pieces. And GPS would have been absolutely useless:
Directions here are funny. It's just like any small town; "turn left where the bank used to be, then right where the supermarket was, etc." The thing is, the wreckage of the bank and the supermarket are still there, so it's marginally easier to follow the directions -- once you get good at recognizing what a building used to be from a pile of debris.
One time I was giving directions, and I swear to God this was what I
- Go to the first stoplight that's out and turn right.
- Turn left at the Burger King with the boat in the drive through.
- When you get to the house on it's side leaning against the telephone pole, turn right.
- At the blown-down stop sign turn right. That's Washington St., but I think it's only spray painted on the white house that's missing it's roof. Don't bother looking for a street sign.
- Go down Washington until there's a mobile home on the street. Drive around it and pull into the driveway the mobile home is sitting on.
(To the people in Waveland trying to follow these directions, don't bother. It's a made up example. But y'all probably know where each of these places actually are, right?
-- "jra's thoughts," 17 Oct 2005
The city's still here, people are partying on Bourbon Street, and life goes on. But I can't help but feel that everything's tinged with sadness. It may be that way for a long time.
Dinner tonight: The "Nor'Easter" at Reginelli's Pizzeria (Spicy red pepper sauce, mozzarella cheese, italian sausage, caramelized onions, green peppers, capers).