Saturday, October 21

Outside of the "isle of denial"

So, I promised a second New Orleans post but I've been putting it off because I don't know really how to say it. I'm not an expert on the politics. I'm not a local. Yada yada...

However, what needs to be said is that outside of the French Quarter and the CBD, New Orleans in a mess. Worse than a mess...Utterly destroyed comes to mind. However, there is a strong spirit of hope, courage and fierce determination that is holding the remains together. All I can say is that from the little I saw, I was horrified. I had no idea of how widespread the destruction was, and still is, nearly a year later. And I only saw the edges on some off the less damaged places.

There's an article in the Houston Chronicle that's worth reading. Tells the story much better than I could, although I'm sure it's biased in it's own way. The whole thing is soo caught up in politics now as well, just to add to the complications. The feeling I get here is that people don't want to know. they're sure the government is dealing with it so it's all good.

Anyhow, this post was prompted by two things I saw on the tour that were a bit of a reality check. The first was the watermark on some of the places we drove through. The sides of bridges, halfway up houses...this kind of slimy line. That wasn't so bad, but it was the realisation that the line wasn't where the water got to, but where it stayed that really floored me.

The second were these painted markings on all the houses (outside of the FQ and CBD etc). Painted Xs with notation in each quadrant. The similarities to passover were somewhat sobering. None of my photos worked because they were taken from moving cars, so I borrowed one from here.

I later learnt that these are search markings, where different volunteer teams like the chicago police etc (urban search and rescue) would go out and check for people in the houses. This house has been searched twice, the first time in orange. The date is at the top, the team ID in the left, any hazards etc in the right and the number of bodies or survivors at the bottom. The first marking has NE in the right quadrant, which means there was no entry (water too high, toxic... ). The second marking is from two days later, no hazards, no people. The number of these markings that we passed was, like almost everything else, overwhelming... If I had a hat, I'd take it off to the courage of all those people who were part of those teams.

And then there's the story of the missing killer dolphins... Although that may be a hoax.


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