It’s Thanksgiving and I am capturing thoughts from the last few days. First, and foremost, we are all VERY thankful for what we have. After seeing the destruction in this city we have become appreciative of all the small things.
Known for the complete destruction caused by a levee breach, the Ninth Ward in Jefforson Parish has been talked about time after time on the news. It may just be the most famous area within New Orleans right now.
A few evenings – after we got our work completed – we visited the Ninth Ward, 17th St Canal area, and downtown New Orleans.
17th St. Canal: This was the first indication of massive, total, and complete destruction that we say. Just 1 mile from Lake Ponchatrain sits the 17th St. Canal area. We toured a subdivision called Lakeview. Homes here are, well, were, very nice. Most had a brick facade. There were BMW’s and Mercedes sitting in the driveways. Most homes were two stories. It looked like a really nice part of town. That’s past tense. Today, there is mud everywhere. Streets are only one lane due to all the debris littering the sides. Cars are strewn everywhere. Yes, litterally strewn everywhere. The area looks like Katrina hit two days ago, not 3 months ago. Occasionally you see a Bobcat pushing debris or a contractor working. The area is devoid of residents. Some homes are listed for sale. All over the place you see road signs offering labor and help.
Ninth Ward: The same destruction that we saw in the 17th St Canal area is evident here. For miles and miles we drive and we see no one! Not even a contractor. No residents. It is Thanksgiving day when we tour this area. There is one “block” party on the edge of town. Many news media are gathered. It looks like maybe 100 people are here. We just drive on. These are the only people we see for an hour. Right next to this ward is the Inner Navigational Canal. Apparently, it was one along this canal where the levee was breached. We see the levee – it’s a good 15-20 feet tall and about 1 foot wide. It’s tough to imagine the water rising, flowing into the ward, and engulfing these homes. Unlike the 17th St Canal, these homes are more run-down, closer together, and lesser quality construction.
Downtown: I’ve been to New Orleans a few times for business and pleasure. The RiverWalk area is always hopping; so is Bourbon street. Tonight as we visit (this was two days before Thanksgiving) we see litterally 7 people at the RiverWalk. Only 2 stores are open. Bourbon street looks less populated – but we aren’t here for the party. We drove around the SuperDome and the Convention Center. What an eerie sight knowing what transpired here three months earlier.