Wednesday, October 13, 2010
5 years post katrina---
the scene along st. charles avenue is breathtaking, idyllic. canal street is a picture of recovery, wide and inviting, the pavement as smooth as bourbon street pool table. rarely along these thoroughfares will you find any evidence of the storm that brought this city to it's knees. 'nawlins may have been brought low, but she is far from out for the count.
in the hours before dawn street cars rumble along st. charles avenue every few minutes. they carry the worker bees here and there, delivering them to signature restaurants and six table holes in the wall places that cater to natives and tourists alike. after morning prep, dishes that say "you're in the big easy" await. every sumptuous bite; the crabs, the shrimp, the fishes all plentiful, surrendered up from the waters of the gulf, there for the asking.
if st. charles and canal street, the garden district and bourbon street are all you bother to see, it would be easy to forget that not all that long ago this city was a sea of flood water and people desperate to be plucked from roof tops and overpasses the city over.
in travels throughout the city one can see an occasional reminder of the storm. even after five years an occasional house remains unclaimed. rare they are, but some are still left.
rare, that is, unless you bother to visit the ninth ward. the scene in "the ward" is in stark contrast to the touristy parts of the city. though five years have passed, the number of homes and businesses waiting to be reclaimed there is huge in comparison. there is a good number of homes newly constructed or reclaimed since the storm; raised on high in hopes of surviving the waters if there comes a next great storm.
i admire those who are bravely reclaiming the ninth. i'm not sure i could make that decision were it mine to make. the number of derelict homes appears to overwhelm new construction by a great margin. fields of weeds occupy the lots where homes stood before the storm. time will witness how much more recovery will occur here. overall the city is abuzz with the business of the day. people go about their everyday lives, bringing the "easy" back to it's glory days, only better. trailing far behind is the 9th ward. hopefully the game of catch up can be won in that part of new orleans as well. aio