17. NOLA

NOLA: New Orleans is forever changed, there is no denying that. While the sugarcane farms and plantations west of the city were left largely untouched by the winds and floods of Katrina, the central, south and east of the city are still in varying states of physical and financial ruin. The eastern quadrant of the city is ghastly, an uninhabitable war zone. Apartment complexes, homes, huge shopping malls all lay wasted and abandoned, overgrown with kudzu and populated by stray animals. It was startling.

We still took and enjoyed two nights in the French Quarter, where we found ourselves in the sparse company of mostly international tourists and domestic aid workers. While the streets and buildings in the historic heart of the Big Easy have been repaired, no hotels or restaurants required reservations and traffic was eerily light. The locals we encountered were exceptionally gracious, happy to see us, and clearly masking the sadness of a year of severe loss and disappointment. Still, the New Orleans spirit persists in its clubs, gumbo shops and on a pile of different bumper stickers and car magnets. We passed on the one that said “New Orleans: Proud To Swim Home,” in favor of another that said “Make Levees Not War.” Looks pretty nice on the VW Bus. Laissez les bon temps roulez, encore. {S}

 

  1. whip says:

    great pictures, great stories
    your trip is becoming a daily read for me
    see you in the great NY