Monday, January 11, 2010

Paul's Katrina

A lot of what I know about Hurricane Katrina I learned from my friend Paul over at Citizen K. He's been to New Orleans eight times and writes eloquently about his love for the Crescent City.

I hadn't seen this post before. The photos of the houses moved me so much. I've never seen anything like them. Because they're nothing like the images of destruction which accompanied the news reports they speak to me in a quieter, deeper way.

"A week ago today, we joined ten other people and toured the Katrina-damaged areas of New Orleans. This amounts to 80 per cent of the entire city, an expanse of 144 square miles, or the size of seven Manhattans. Katrina-related damage extended to four parishes: Orleans, Jefferson, Placquemines, and St. Bernard's. As we discovered on the tour, little of it need have happened: Although touched off by natural forces, Katrina was largely a man-made disaster."
click here for more from Citizen K's blog entry.

The hole in the roof indicates the family inside had to force their way through the attic to await rescue by boat.

An emergency crew from Georgia found no bodies here.

Although it looks intact, this house was scheduled to be torn down by the City.


K. said...

Seeing this was one of the most sobering experiences of my life. Listening to Rose -- our driver -- talk dispassionately about losing her own house as we parked outside of it had a greater impact than had she wept many bitter tears. Her stoicism was a powerful statement of resilience and created a profound senses of empathy among most of the people on the tour.

The was a year-and-a-half ago. I read NOLA blogs on a regular basis, and I doubt that much has changed. I have no doubt that there have been (very) slow improvements, but the levees are still dangerous and the low-lying neighborhoods remain devastated. The political moment for the federal government to intervene on a massive scale has likely passed.

One way to support NOLA from afar is to listen to its music! There's a lot of great work being done even now. I write about it whenever I can, so stay tuned!

T. Clear said...

Ditto what K. said.

While on the tour, the woman sitting next to me wanted to "chit-chat", and I had to physically turn away from her. This was an experience which required great presence, and was so profoundly moving, I felt that the only response possible was that of silence. Language, words, conversation -- paled in the face of what we were experiencing.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

paul has done a wonderful service to all of us in the bloggyhood by sharing his observations and experiences....the devastation caused by the current catastrophe in haiti,is not dissimilar to what we have seen with katrina - a deadly combo of natural forces and human-neglect. my hope is that the world can join together to help haiti build/rebuild a strong infrastructure and weave back life that has been broken apart...

RobinB said...

To witness is such a brave act and all three of you understand that so eloquently. Thank you all for your posts here and in your own blogs, which take a certain courage and I feel they've enriched me in ways I hadn't completely realized before. xx