Seven years after Katrina, NOLA is still struggling to come back. You may not see it when you visit the French Quarter or when you watch Endymion roll, but the neglect is still there, the graft still one of the biggest games in town. I will be updating this page soon. Please, when you are thinking about Sandy and all we have to face - think about New Orleans. New Orleans is thinking about you.
The skeleton of Charity Hospital - think of it as NYC’s Bellevue - stands empty seven years after the storm. There is still office supplies, desks and other furniture visible through the windows.
Blighted houses - or no houses - is the rule not the exception in the Lower Ninth Ward. This house on Tennessee street stands caved in and rotting with a beautiful live oak in the front lawn.
This is the supposed sight of a new charter school in the Lower Ninth Ward. One of the promises of rebuilding the community was that schools would return, parks would be rebuilt and basic services like proper roadways and grocery stores would return. Almost none of that has happened. This giant swath of land is bordered by a tall chain link fence, the integrity of which is compromised by the giant felled Oak to the right.
On the other side of town on Lake Pontchatrain, a demolished pier remains along with piles of cement and rubble. This was once a thriving lakefront, generations of families coming to enjoy boating and the lake-front restaurants - none of which remain. This is near the site of the 17th Street breech which flooded the Lakeview neighborhood as well as City Park and beyond.
Don lives in one of the “Make It Right” houses built in the lower ninth ward after Katrina. He has had a water main break in the front of his house for “months”. He has called the city, and even asked the two parish sheriffs who live on the block for help. There is no infrastructure here. Make it Right, the green building initiative started by Brad Pitt, build houses but haven’t helped get proper roads built, a new school and community center - things the initiative told residents it would fight for. The nearest food store is a gas station. But two blocks away, the City of New Orleans has installed no less than a dozen mature palms in the neutral ground costing according to one master gardener, around $10,000 a pop.