Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New Orleans One Year Later

I spent a few days this week in New Orleans for the American Psychological Association's yearly conference. It was a momentous occasion for two reasons. One, it was my first trip away from Butterskin. (Ever touch a baby's skin? Like buttah.) Happy to say we both survived. Two, it was my first time in New Orleans since The Storm, as the residents call Hurricane Katrina. I'm sorry to say a lot of the city's residents didn't survive. Fortunately my friends Mike and Sally did.

Mike and Sally are artists who live in the city. I spent a day with them talking about their experiences following the storm. They began by taking me on the "destruction tour." The first thing that struck me was how the water line is visible on all surfaces somebody hasn't yet paid to have cleaned, which basically means all walls and buildings in the poor areas and the areas where people haven't yet moved back. This church sign, for instance. The water line is visible as a faint horizontal stain about 6 feet off the ground. At its maximum depth the sign must have read simply THE LORD, raising questions about what exactly He was going to do once the water went down.

If THE LORD will indeed guide this neighborhood's denizens home, it hasn't happened yet. The houses are a wreck and every single one for miles around is uninhabited.

And there's garbage everywhere. Mike said FEMA has all these crazy rules about what they'll pick up and what the city has to pick up, and since the city isn't holding up its end of the bargain because its sanitation workers pretty much all reside in Texas now, every neighborhood is pockmarked by piles of garbage no one will touch.

The neighborhood in the above pics looked positively posh compared to the decimated Ninth Ward, adjacent to a levee breach. There, the water simply picked houses up off their slabs and deposited them randomly: on roadsides, atop cars, atop other houses. Most of the houses in the ward were simply demolished, hence a great deal of green space one year later.

Dang. For some reason I cannot comprehend, blogger won't let me upload any more pics.

I had some good ones too. Will try to add them, plus descriptions, at a future date. In the meantime, suffice it to say I made it back just fine, albeit sans eye drops or lip gloss in my bag, which meant I arrived dry-eyed and dry-lipped in time to kiss Butterskin before bed.


Blogger Bela said...

Oh, that looks terrible. I can't imagine how horrendous it must have been.

9:03 PM, August 12, 2006  
Blogger Parisjasmal said...

Great pics K. Thanks for sharing.

ROFK Butterskin!

9:40 PM, August 14, 2006  
Blogger Jemima said...

Now this is me being naive, but I had no idea the devastation was so widespread or still being felt on that sort of scale. I really am very naive. I love the understatement of calling the hurricane The Storm. A good way to cope with anything. Rebrand.

Someone really needs to stop being fussy and realise the rubbish has to be removed, that moving it matters way more than who does the moving. Tut.

6:59 AM, August 15, 2006  

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