Friday, February 23, 2007

Katrina Aftermath

The Katrina damage in rural parishes along the coast was impressive. Every outbuilding, commercial building, and church was a broken wreck. In many places there were only bare foundation slabs. There were broken trees everywhere though one could see that the worst of it had been cleared. Equally impressive was the government's success in providing a seemingly endless supply of shiny new bright-colored manufactured homes, each on a three-or-more feet elevated flood platform or stilts. I saw very few wrecked houses, which means that the wreckage of the old ones had been cleared before the new ones were brought in.

The results in the city were more mixed. A large majority of the buildings have been, or are being, rehabilitated. On many only the fronts have been repainted - the sides still show the mud left by the receding waters. The high water mark is usually plainly visible. Around the French Quarter it was usually about or just above the level of the second floor. In other parts of the city there is lots of abandoned property, particularly in poorer quarters. The look of it was that it was slumlord income property which was already marginal before the storm and not worth the investment of restoring. That probably has something to do with the profile of the people still displaced.

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