The BIG question...damage to New Orleans

New Orleans Travel Blog

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severe fire damage to this home

I'm sure this is the part everyone wants to read.  What is it like in New Orleans 10 months after Katrina?  To tell you the truth, I can only say a few things.  First, the city worked very hard to clean up the area around the Convention Center to make our conference a huge success.  Canal St and the Upper and Lower French Quarter showed few signs of hurricane damage.  Occassionally there were buildings being repaired, but the repairs were contained and only minimally affected the general public.

On Friday the 23rd, I worked at the Algiers Branch of New Orleans Public Libraries.  The structure of the building was sound but the entire collection was lost to molding.

car abandoned after it caught on fire
  Wind damage had compromised the roof; as a result, water leaked in and damaged their computers, books, and equipment.  Library staff members were not allowed back into the branch until a month after the hurricane.  Everything had to be cleared out.  The structure was still intact and the building served as a huge warehouse for an estimated quarter of a million donated books.  We spent the day opening hundreds of boxes and packages, sorting through materials the library could use and donating the rest to FEMA stations around the city.

I never made it out to the 9th ward.  One reason is accessibility.  Transportation was difficult enough between the French Quarter, the CBD, and the Garden District.

notice the markings on the house
  Another reason is respect.  I'm sure residents of New Orleans do not particularly want tourist standing around gawking at their misfortune.  They wanted us to have a good time and spend our money!  I did have the opportunity to meet up with several people who were working in the 9th ward.  They showed me their pictures--houses damaged, cars inoperable, etc--everything the media has showed and more.

Here are a few photos of things I did see.  I learned that there are many fires due to electrical issues.  Many cars sit along streets unable to run.  Everywhere you look there are citizens with hammers, nails, drills, and 2X4s working hard to put their life back together.  It's hard work.  It's hot and long work.  I commend them for their strength.

I did not meet one rude New Orleaner.  In fact, every time I spoke to someone I wanted to cry from what they said: "I was able to come back to my home and my job because your conference provided me with work," "thank you so much for coming here, you are helping rebuild New Orleans."  It was heart wrenching.  We take tourism for granted and never really know that lives depend on it.  So, if you're thinking about taking a vacation, I highly recommend New Orleans.  It will be the best vacation of your life!

jenn79 says:
What a great blog - thank you so much for sharing this!
Posted on: Jan 05, 2008
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severe fire damage to this home
severe fire damage to this home
car abandoned after it caught on f…
car abandoned after it caught on …
notice the markings on the house
notice the markings on the house