February 6, 2007

New Orleans: Devastated

You have to be here to appreciate it. A year and a half after the hurricanes, and the damage and poverty are just amazing. And that was just on the cab ride through some areas not that hard hit... on Thursday I go on the bus tour of the "affected area." Tragic. Heartbreaking. A little eerie driving past gutted businesses with dark lines (high water mark) up to your chest, bashed-out windows and plywood over openings.

Yet the spirit to rebuild and improve is here.

More photos are here. [link]

The problem with television is that everything becomes statistics. Everything becomes a Hollywood or Madison Avenue production. Viewers become numbed. Yet stand amid the wreckage and see little girls walking home from school, construction workers laboring under a sign that says "One building at a time," damaged houses draped with banners that proclaim "Doctor's office open"--you remember that these are all people, and every person has their own story. Some areas still, after all this time, have emergency shelters where people go for such basics as food and showers.

It is going to be years before this community and the people who live here are healed.

3 comments:

doctorj2u said...

The people will be changed for life. Scarred for life. How could they not be? I know I have been. America abandoned us. Nothing will change that fact.

writtenwyrdd said...

thanks for sharing. I lived through a disaster and the aftermath is the real problem, not the flood or the hurricane.

Gene said...

It's hard to believe it's almost been a year since I was sorting through thousands of pictures of New Orleans and Mississippi for last year's Random Acts dinner. Oakland FD and Alameda County FD sent two teams, a swiftwater rescue team to New Orleans, and an urban search and rescue team to Mississippi, and they came back changed. Many of them had also worked at Ground Zero and were here for the '89 quake, but the scope and the completeness of the devastation in NO/MS was overwhelming. And these are people who deal with disasters big and small for a living.

But out of sight, out of mind. The press (which largely forgot about Mississippi in the first place) moved on to new stories.