Posted by: kellymurtagh | January 20, 2008

The Ninth Ward, Two and half years after the storm

The ninth ward in New Orleans.  You’ve heard about it.  It is infamous for being one of the most devastated areas in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  But regardless of what you’ve heard or seen on TV, no matter what horrific image you’ve conjured in your head, actually being there is incomparable. 

 

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Two and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, we drove on dilapidated street after street in the ninth ward.  It was a wasteland.  Empty lots where houses had once stood, succumbed to the growth of tangled weeds.  Debris lay forgotten on the side of the road, waiting to be picked up by a trash-man, who still hasn’t come. 

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 It was desolate, eerie, and deserted.  A true testament to the severity of Katrina.  The few houses that Katrina had spared, had spray painting on them begging, “Do not demolish, work in progress.”  However, they seemed forlorn, families begging for donations to rebuild, but the process is stagnant.

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You can imagine just how many houses were in this neighborhood, how many families lived here, and how many families have yet to return.  A few houses have been rebuilt, but instead of neighbors, the homes are surrounded by empty lots, emphasizing the slow and grueling process of rebuilding.  However, though the process may be unbearably gradual, it’s necessary.  It’s necessary to rebuild, infusing life back into this city.  And although I did not see as much rebuilding as I would have liked, I did see one construction zone.  A beacon in a sea of nothingness, this site was a symbol of rebuilding and a positive reassurance that New Orleans will be back.     

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