Av and I made it back to New Orleans. Crossing over the causeway into Metairie was no problem, but there were checkpoints to get any further into the city. Av had his credentials so we had no trouble.
The first place we went to was Lakeview. I don’t know how to describe it…..it was dirty, dusty, there was an incredible putrid stink in certain places…..we got out of the car at one point and it was like we were the only two people left on the planet. All of the houses had water marks. 5′, 8′, 10′. The spray-painted signs showed if there were any bodies found. Thankfully, most of them showed a zero, but I saw one or two that had big numbers like nine. I told Av I thought that someone must have filled out the ‘x’ wrong. I don’t know. There were other signs, like someone had spraypainted a zero in the bottom quadrant of the ‘x’ but next to it put ‘one person still alive’. There was another that said “cat rescued 9/24”. There were also cars that had been spraypainted to show that they had been checked, and thankfully every one I saw had a zero on it. These are things you never expect to see, ever. Things you never even know to consider.
The French Quarter is much, much better. I’ll post pics of our hotel in a day or two, but we stayed at Le Pavillon along with tons and tons of EPA and other governmental people. The water wasn’t safe to drink or to get on your skin, so we bathed and brushed our teeth with bottled water. All the food was served on disposable plates. Not many places were open. FEMA, Red Cross, National Guard, government people were *everywhere*. We brought a couple of cans of gasoline with us on this trip, but we didn’t need them. We thought that there might not be gasoline available in New Orleans, but there were some stations open in Metairie and there was one off Lee Circle that was open and the attendant told Av that they had never even lost their power the whole time….
The Garden District did okay too. There was some flooding, but nothing like Lakeview.
BTW, the Superdome roof looks like junk. The outside of it has mostly been cleaned up – I remember very vividly seeing the pictures on television of stuff just being *everywhere*. The neutral ground on Canal is mostly cleaned up, and people are using it for parking (it’s not like the streetcar is going to be a problem). You can park anywhere and you won’t get booted – the police are being really nice about letting people park wherever, which is good because a lot of the parking decks aren’t open.
In Metairie, there was flooding and residents there have been back for a few days. We saw lots and lots of carpet and furniture thrown out, and refrigerators with duct tape around them. After that many days without electricity, nobody wants to open their refrigerator. Seriously.
I know I have lots more to say, but it’s really a little much to think about right now.
For now, I have a lot of pictures uploaded to my Flickr set from this trip.