The party atmosphere. The history. The jazz. The warmth of the people.
The beignets (French-style doughnuts drowning in icing sugar) and the cafe au lait.
The crazy stories bought to life by crazy characters and their crazy descendants.
The gumbo or the shrimp and grits. The beads everywhere. The cocktails necessary to recover from the ever present heat.
The mighty, muddy Mississippi.
The plantations and everything they represent to everyone.
New Orleans is everything you’ve ever read about, heard in the jazz or seen in a movie.
It’s also everything you’ve seen on the news.
At first I didn’t notice any Katrina damage but that’s because the touristy or well known areas I visited are all older and were originally built on higher ground. It’s was only when I was making my way further out to visit a swampland that the bus driver pointed out some of the houses still in ruins and the corporations that have just upped and left, rather then rebuild. One of New Orleans’ poorest suburbs that was worse affected by Katrina still hasn’t had its hospital rebuilt almost eight years later.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit New Orleans was to see its recovery from Katrina. But the one thing that struck me from visiting was that even now I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like. I’ve seen some of the water levels but I can’t actually imagine water like that filling up so quickly, full of everything and everywhere. Remember this whole area is actually either swamp or lake so that water has nowhere to go. New Orleans isn’t the first place I’ve visited that is worried about global warming. When I mentioned my shock that they still hadn’t rebuilt the hospital in Ward 9, one local questioned the point of it given the environment even though a lot of people are still living there.
Anyways. Just some thoughts from someone who only spent a few days in town.
Below is that beautiful swamp. And how high above sea level you would have to build on that swamp to get insurance in the State of Louisiana if you wanted to get insurance on your house.