On the eve of the 2nd anniversary of Katrina I'm thinking about my trip to New Orleans last summer. I had been to New Orleans as a child and remember thinking how dirty it was but also how lively and noisy it was. Walking down Bourbon Street, my Mother would cover my eyes to avoid certain windows sporadically throughout our walk. Even then I had a feeling it was something sleazy, something about sex in those windows. As an adult I pretty much know I was right!
I also remember young boys tap dancing for change in the middle of the street. In fact, I have a picture of me throwing coins into their box and it looks like I'm dancing with them. I also have fond memories of the zoo, even though it was, like, 100 degrees when we went. But for me, the best part were all the people in the streets just having fun and all the music. Even as a child I could appreciate the jazz streaming out from the clubs on Bourbon Street.
Going back last year was sad. Almost a year later I knew it was still bad (by watching 360) but I had no idea! It was as if time had stopped in most of the city...as if it were a movie on pause. I suppose I thought that maybe there would at least be piles of rubble where people had cleaned up some of the streets and parking lots but for most of the areas I saw outside of Downtown and the French Quarter, nothing could be further from that thought. I remember driving by a mall, which I believe was in the Lakeview part of the city. A year later, debris, rubble, paper, pieces of clothing, signs and even some cars still hung in trees, on roofs and all throughout the parking lot.
Driving towards the French Quarter late at night from I-10 all I could see were street after street of darkness. No street lights and no house lights. Neighborhood after neighborhood of nothing, not even Fema trailers. From TV you can not possible grasp the enormity with which this storm as effected the area! I was blown away by how it just went on and on.
Another odd site were all the broken down water-logged cars that had been dumped under almost all the highway overpasses I saw. Even in the Downtown area there were still buildings boarded up and high rises with windows still blown out. We didn't venture down to the lower 9th Ward because locals told us it wasn't safe, not even in the daytime. I kept thinking "How could it still be this bad a year later?" The sad part? It's probably hasn't changed much in the year since I've been there.
I hope that Anderson shows us what has and hasn't been done in Nola this coming Wednesday when 360 has it's 2cd Anniversary special. I also keep hoping he'll do a "Keeping them Honest" on what little good Nagin has done for Nola. I think he and others should be exposed for what they've neglected to do. And also show what they have done. (Little I'm sure)
On another note, I found a really interesting cemetery not far from where we stayed and took some pictures. It's kinda creepy but also kinda cool.
In the week to come we'll be talking more about Katrina and AC360's coverage of it. I hope everyone watches and continues to remember the people that are still effected. Have a good week!