Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lost in New Orleans

Sam was home these last few days for her end-of-semester break, so we decided to take a look at the newly reopened Saks. We drove up St. Charles, which was a bit of a hassle since none of the stoplights were working again. But we were okay with that, since the lights were out due to the ongoing work to restore the St. Charles streetcar, which is dearly missed. Unfortunately, on our way home, the street I normally turn on was blocked by construction. Then I got lost.

Getting lost in New Orleans is easy these days. They’ve begun to replace some of the street signs lost in the storm, but most of the signs are still down and nothing looks the same anymore. You can drive forever without being able to figure out where you are or where you’re going. We ended up in a part of the city I hadn’t seen since Katrina, and it was pretty scary, all collapsed buildings and burned out blocks and boarded up houses. I finally got out of there by pointing my little VW’s nose into the setting sun and heading west.

We’re now into our 18th month, post-K. There’s still a FEMA trailer sitting on my next-door neighbor’s lawn, and two more on our block alone. Another five houses on our block are still completely empty. We live in an area that was relatively lightly damaged—just a foot or less of water (plus the wind, of course). As for the rest of New Orleans, well...


Charles Gramlich said...

Did you hear of the shooting off of Terry Parkway. It was like the OK Corral from what I hear. Guns blazing from nearly a dozen people. At least one innocent was killed. I don't know more details. Be careful getting lost in the Greater New Orleans area these days.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Sounds like something out of Fritz Leiber. Frightening really. I hope I'm never involved in any such disaster, natural or otherwise. Or the aftermath. I wish you and your fellow citizens well.

Steve said...

I used to live on Robert St, back where the crack houses started. It felt like a piece was torn out of me when Katrina hit.

The flooding was personal in a way 9/11 never was. I saw both on TV from New Zealand, but the disaster in NOLA cost me old friends, former lovers and a vivid chunk of my wayward youth.

I want to go back one of these days, but I wonder how many layers of heartbreak that would involve. Thank you for your posts: you paint a great mental picture of what's left.

Glad to hear the street car will run again!

cs harris said...

It would break your heart, Steve; I still find myself choking up with tears whenever I drive across the city. No matter how many times I see it, it still hurts.