Friday, March 21, 2008

New Orleans - Part Two

Each day after work we drove back to Camp Hope a different way, so we could be sure to see as much of the neighborhoods as possible. Some buildings have been restored perfectly, some haven't been touched since Katrina. I hesitated at first to put photos of people's homes up here. But the lack of national news coverage (with the exception of NPR) could lead people to think that the rebuilding is done. A lot has been done since 2005, but I think people need to be reminded about how much work is left to do.

Turns out I really didn't have a good understanding of how widespread the flooding was after Katrina. I was picturing a flooded neighborhood here, then dry land, then flooding. Of course I knew it was bad, I just wasn't picturing it correctly. I understand what happened a whole lot better now. As an example, Camp Hope is in the eastern part of St. Bernard Parish, about 20 miles east of the house we worked on (which is about 15 blocks east of the French Quarter). Almost every single building from Camp Hope to the house still has the Katrina graffiti (from when the various organizations searched the buildings after the flooding). Some of the buildings are in use, some not.

This is a house in the Lakeview, a rather upscale neighborhood north of Mid-City. The brown line is the water mark.

This school in the St. Roch neighborhood hasn't reopened yet. The registration dates are from 2005.

This is the part of the Lower Ninth Ward that is right next to the levee. I'm not sure how many of these homes were pushed away by the flood and how many were cleared by FEMA later.

Front porches:

There are a lot of gutted houses with no windows and doors just waiting to be restored. The graffiti here means that on Sept 12th (2005), someone from Texas Fish and Wildlife inspected the house and found no people and no bodies. "NE" means they weren't able to get into the house (No Entry).

You can see the hole where someone axed their way through the roof, I assume to escape the flood.

So many people are still living in trailers next to their homes.

Many people are just now starting to rebuild. There are a lot of debris piles as people clean out their homes. N.O. is back up to 300,000 people (out of 450,000 before the storm).

A sign from the city that this house will be cleared. The sign is from 6 months ago. We saw a couple homes where people have spraypainted "Do not bulldoze I will rebuild". Hope it works.

The house nearby has been restored to perfection.

There are some other bright spots. Literally. This is the Musician's Village. The colors are so bright and the houses are so cheerful that you can see the "glow" a couple blocks away. I love it.

The Preservation Resource Center is the organization that Rebuilding Together New Orleans is part of. Both PRC and RT have separate restoration projects. PRC seems to be purely preservation oriented. Rebuilding Together specializes in doing home improvements for low-income elderly and disabled homeowners. PRC has restored many houses in the Holy Cross neighborhood and have more projects on the way.

Soon to be restored:

Next door, a great restoration job by the PRC:

Also in Holy Cross are the two famous Steamboat houses. They are in great shape. I assume there were repairs done after the storm because they sit next to the levee.

Brad Pitt's Green Project house in Holy Cross. No, Brad Pitt was not there when we stopped by. :-)


dogyarnfun said...

I love the brightly colored buildings, as if the homes are happpy knowing that their owners will return.

Opal said...

What a journey you've taken us all along for. The desolation and the hope! Oh the hope of the restored homes is wonderful! I love the Musician's Village. The brightly colored homes cheered my heart. :)

SJ said...

It's good to see such bright signs of life in NOLA!