Friday, February 03, 2006

Seeing the affects of Katrina 1st installment
New Orleans: Nearly 5 months later
Written on January 22, 2006
On our day off between speech week and debate week, our friend Jennifer Foreman’s husband Collins was able to put us in touch with relief worker Bonnie Nelson from Arkansas. We went to New Orleans proper and picked Bonnie up at School of Urban Missions which is being used as an Emergency Relief staging area.
Bonnie and her husband Rich have been working in the relief effort for the last 4 months. When they first arrived it was very dangerous, there were snipers everywhere but they lived in the safest part of town with the biggest protection, the FBI sharp shooters who were able to take out all of the snipers.
Leaving New Orleans proper we drove through what the locals call, “The West Bank” this particular neighborhood sustained very little damage and they were the only neighborhood that was not flooded. Now they call themselves “The Blessed Bank.”
The first place we visited was the lower 9th ward. Each house has been searched twice and while we were there the authorities were on the third round. Each house is marked with four quadrants in the top one many were marked with TFW (Toxic Flood Waters) in the bottom was a number usually a zero and lots with a zero with a slash through it meaning no bodies found on both first and second sweep. In the right-hand quad. It would often be marked with a “C” or “D” if a cat or dog was found. In the left number of firearms found.
Much of the city still is without electricity. There are no children in New Orleans. Throughout the lower 9th there were a ton of stop signs because of the lack of electricity. There maybe 10 houses worth restoring here, but who would want to when the rest of the neighborhood needs to be leveled. Many homes, including ones that will never recover from the flood damage had professional signs that read, “No Bulldozing!”
There was trash everywhere. A set of stairs on a postage size stamp of land that led to the house that now sits in the middle of the street 200 yards away. Someone’s couch set on a tipped over 18 wheeler. Former homes piled together from the surge that broke through the levee and push them together as if they were Monopoly pieces. To drive through this place and see it for myself was very sobering. 21st century live coverage can not even do the devastation justice.