June 15, 2010

New Orleans Renewal: Five Years After Katrina

Some figure that 75% of New Orleans residents have returned since Katrina devastated the city. No one really knows. Maybe the 2010 census will tell us. But how does the city look today? Well, it’s a mix. Old neighborhoods with large and small colorful historic homes began to look prettier and nearly normal last year, and look even better yet this year! Streets are being repaved all over town. The old low income neighborhoods are struggling - it’s hard to tell which homes are occupied, which not. Legendary housing projects (sturdy but ancient brick buildings torn down to strong community protest) have been replaced with a period look. Will they be as resilient? Newly landscaped parks are lush. Folks flock to as many colorful neighborhood and French Quarter events as ever. 

Above, I’m standing in the area where this levee broke. The repair ended about near the grey roof, though the levee stretches toward the city. Homes were covered to the rafters, where many cats retreated and survived.      

I took a walk through the part of Gentilly where we’re staying on Pratt, along the London Avenue Canal. Like many others, this neighborhood is  a mix.  New homes are scattered among vacant lots, abandoned houses or incomplete building projects.

Maybe the  owners of this boarded-up home may not have decided what to do. But they’re supposed to cut the lawn!




Bright orange numbers sprayed on the curb indicate that a home has been or will be demolished through a Road Home program. Demolition goes on, but slowly. Funds are pretty much depleted.





A family home comes down in hours.




An elementary school takes longer.DSC06040







The house for sale was renovated (not built new) and has been flipped twice. Across the street, a group has stopped to learn about residents’ experiences. They may be summer students or a church group. Church groups did a HUGE amount of work in the city. Tourists usually come along in vans. The bus tours have become infrequent since the neighborhood cleaned up!

This gutted home might be rebuilt. Only a slab remains near a cleared lot and an abandoned home. NO Slab Trees House 









But this community aims to come back! Two large, new private schools demonstrate the commitment.

Now, hurricane season is here again, turning attention to weather reports and evacuation route discussions. Lots of folks are eating or freezing all the seafood they can, to support the fishermen. We went to Mandina’s on Canal Street. The restaurant began as a Sicilian grocery in 1898, and was rebuilt after Katrina. It is a great place for people watching – here you can see true Old New Orleans gentry and many local characters! 

NO Mandina's Meal Blog


Counter-clockwise from bottom, ONE roast beef      po-boy split evenly between K.C. & I, Kathi’s shrimp remoulade salad with an order of grilled shrimp, and Chuck’s fried oysters with pasta.

That’s New Orleans: When in doubt or       uncertainty, party!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

whoo-hoo! roast beef po'boys and shrimp remoulade!!! laissez les bons temps rouler!

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