Sunday, August 26, 2007

My thoughts on Nola and 360

All pictures taken by Purple Tie in Summer 2006
Click on any picture for a clearer, bigger view

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 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.
Shame on Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco and President Bush. It gets me so angry to think that these people don't seem to give a crap about the people in their own country. Mayor Nagin is a joke and I can't believe people voted him back into office. He's done nothing!

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)
For me, the worst part of my trip back, was to see a city that was nothing like what I remembered. I don't just mean the rubble and the debris but the spirit of New Orleans is in debris and rubble. Walking down Bourbon Street was sad, not only because there weren't many people but there literately was no jazz or blues floating out into the street as I had remembered. It's as if the soundtrack to New Orleans was now a whisper instead of horns and trumpets blaring from every corner of the French Quarter. How sad it is....

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!


ACAnderFan said...

It's terriblle what goes on down there. It's like people have just forgotten. Katrina was a low point for this country. I mean two years later that city should not look the way it does. That is just wrong on so many levels.

I am really looking forward to Andy's coverage this week. It's nice to know that he still cares becuase I think most of the media has moved on, which is a shame.

Purple Tie, thanks for sharing your expirence and picutes with us.

Evelyn said...

It makes me want to cry when I see pictures like that. PT, I'm sure it was a surreal experience to visit a city that was once so lively, to find it in shambles. This is one of the saddest and most disgraceful events in our nation's history.

I have to admit, rather shamefully, that I didn't watch that much news back then so the gravity of the situation didn't even hit me until much later. When I see old clips or pictures or a new update, it just angers me that our government could disregard people so effortlessly.

I admire Anderson's commitment to NOLA and let's hope his 2nd anniversary special keeps them honest.

Anonymous said...

PT great post. When I as down in New Orleans in March I drove through the Upper Ninth Ward and there are still houses that haven't been touched. In a section near Tulane University piles of trash lined the streets of freshly gutted houses, but there were some houses being worked on.

I heard an interview Nagin did the other day with Susan Roesgen where he stated that Louisiana wasn't getting money because it was a Blue state and Bush was giving the money to his friend Haley Barber of MS. Susan then pointed out that LA was indeed a Red state. If Nagin thinks that there are monies going to MS he should go to places like Waveland or Moss Point they are still waiting for help and volunteers.

Anyway I can't wait to see what Anderson does with the show on Wednesday it can't be any worse than last years shows, at least Warren Jeffs is behind bars and won't interfer.

Jennifer said...

@ Purple Tie, You did a real good job on your post. I don't understand why they voted Mayor Nagin back in office, I agree he hasn't done anything for New Orleans.

I feel sorry for the people their, I can't wait to see the special on AC360 this week.

Quitty said...

Great post and pics.

It's as if the soundtrack to New Orleans was now a whisper instead of horns and trumpets blaring from every corner of the French Quarter. Love the analogy.

Anonymous said...

Purple Tie, I love how you bring up the water-logged cars. I drive to Baton Rouge evryday for my ballet rehearsals, and everyday, I pass by a lot with thousands of the cars from Katrina. It is such an eerie sight. I remember crying the first time that I passed by it. It really makes you wonder who the car belonged to. Was it a family's? Did they make it out ok? I really do not know what they plan to do with the cars. Perhaps have them crushed. They still sit there though.

swmpratt said...

As Quitty said your analogy of the soundtrack now being a whisper was perfect.

I visited New Orleans a few years ago before my daughter moved from there to Arizona to do post grad work. We stayed in an old hotel in the French Quarter that used to be a house - it was so beautiful. We toured the Quarter and went out to the Lake and ate seafood and had a truly magical time. I hope the magic returns soon to NOLA along with its people and their amazing music.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I certainly hope that Anderson is live for more than 1 hour on Wednesday, but I doubt that he will.

Anonymous said...

@bluediamond I asked a friend from New Orleans why Nagin was re elected and she told me he was the lesser of two evils running. If I remember correctly the other guy was Mitch Landreau - the brother of Mary Landreau.

cactuskid said...

This was an excellent post, Purple Tie. I haven't forgotten about these people on the Gulf Coast and it saddens and sickens me that our government has. That insurance cos. have treated them so unfairly and that there has been so much red tape that the progress has been so slow. This was a very sad historic event and will be remembered for years to come not only because Katrina hit and the levees broke, but for how New Orleans, Waveland, and other towns couldn't get the help promised to them. Also, makes me wonder if another hurricane like this hits the Gulf Coast will the same outcome happen for them and the government sit on their hands. Have they gotten their act together now? And if they have why are they still not doing much for the Katrina victums? And yes, Mayor Nagin is a joke. Can't believe he was reelected!!!

I watched Spike Lee's "When The Levees Broke" documentary yesterday on HBO. I hadn't watched it before cause I knew it would be very sad and it was, but I think, everyone should watch it cause it gives the people's perspective and theirs is pretty engrossing and tragic! I pray for strength for these people cause I don't know how they've gotten thru it and some haven't.

I am very proud of Anderson and Brian Williams and anyone else who still reports on the Gulf Coast and won't let this story go away because their voices still need to be heard.

Thanks for the pictures, Purple Tie.

ACAnderFan said...

@Anonymous 3:01Am, I too hope that he is live for the whole two hours but I won't hold my breath. I think the entire two hours wednesday nite need to be devoted to NOLA, but I highly doubt that will happen.

ACAnderFan said...

@cactuskid, I think that if another hurricane were to hit the gulf coast the exact same thing would happen. Sadly I don't think anything has been learned from this. I truly hope that another hurricane dosen't hit the gulf coast.

Anonymous said...

As Grace says, "the lesser of 2 evils". Doesn't that happen way to much in this country?

Dixie Girl said...

Are you guys ready for a shocker? Nagin is considering running for governor. How's that for being arrogant? He still doesn't see what he's done wrong.

I heard a report on TV yesterday that because so many big corporations have pulled their offices out of NOLA, the rebuilding of the city is really in question.

My husband works downtown and there are still days he comes home and says "why are we staying?" I was born and raised here and really don't want to move, but I have to admit that the thought comes to mind often. One bit of a good thing: The restaurants are up and running and the food is fabulous!!

ACAnderFan said...

@ dixie girl, Nagin wants to run for governor?!?!?! He can't even run a city let alone a whole state. He does not need to run for governor. I think that would be very bad for the whole state.

Sapphire said...

PT - thank you so much for sharing your memories and pictures of looks like something from a war zone, it is abslutely a joke that nothing seems to have been done to fix this terrible mess.

I will definately make my way to NOLA at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

OT - the pics from the cemetery remind me from the scenes from Double Jeopardy with Ashley Judd.....I believe that was filmed there.

Anonymous said...

Let's just hope the voters in Louisiana are wise enough not to vote Nagin Governor

Anonymous said...

I am wondering where the money goes? Or does the money already dry out? It doesn't seem possible that since 2 years, nobody has done enough for NOLA. I do miss New Orleans. I went there with my friend a year before Katrina. It was a surreal experience there especially in French Quarter. I remembered the Jazz music passed by and remembered the smell where the partygoers drank and vomited. But I will be coming back and know that I will see them differently.

I'll wait to hear from Anderson this coming Wednesday for the NOLA progress. I am certain that Anderson will be on for 2hrs special. It was so important to him. He has done tremendous works since pass weekend and even pass two weekends ago.

Purple Tie, thanks for sharing our experience. Your pictures remind me of the book I've read "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice.

Anonymous said...

I was in New Orleans in May and even though progress is slow, that city still has a pulse. Nothing can stop its heart from beating. The people there are absolutely amazing.

m.minkoff said...

I'm so sorry that my work schedule has not allowed me to return to New Orleans since Katrina. I have more time now and am hoping to return as soon as the weather cools off.

@Dixie Girl, from Huey Long to the present day, Louisiana politics is something I've never been able to truly understand. Do you guys know that a La. governor was once committed to a mental institution? That was Earl Long. Another former governor is the composer of "You Are My Sunshine." I've forgotten his name, Jimmy something. Help me out, folks. So the election of someone as incompetent as Nagin to the governor's office would not be shocking to me. However, I'm not sure if Louisiana has ever had an African-American governor. Does anyone here know?

Dixie Girl said...

I don't think we have ever had an African-American governor. But, I do remember the Long Era. Speaking of corruption in LA, let's not forget Edwin Edwards who is now in jail for all of his political deals. There is actually a campaign going on now to have him released early for good behavior in prison. He was always one of the "good ole boys" of Louisiana. And I think people tend to have short term memory when it comes time to election time.

As to the French Quarter, anyone who visits now will be pleasantly surprised. The city has hired a new sanitation company which has been doing a tremendous job. They actually spray a citrus-scented disinfectant on the streets. Many residents of the Quarter say it is the cleanest they have ever seen the Quarter. This company is doing such a great job, they have just been given a huge contract with other parts of the city. So, we are improving, slowly!

m.minkoff said...

@Dixie Girl, Thanks for reminding me about Edwin Edwards. How could I have forgotten about him? LA politics is funny when you don't live there, I must admit. Not so funny when you do.

I don't know about that citrus scent in the French Quarter though. It wouldn't be the same without the smell of spilled beer and other unmentionables. I once lived on Dumaine St. in the Quarter....

I remember the LA governor who wrote "You Are My Sunshine." It was Jimmie Davis.