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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Orleans

I can't go into much detail cause the wife is on me to 'get going' and Lucas keeps playing with the greasy chain on my rented bicycle and then touching himself and everything else with his greasy hands.

But I did want to post, since we are digging the Big Easy, for sure. Today we have the Aquarium, City Park and Imax, then Lisa I have a big date on Frenchmen Street tonight, a little off the beaten path where hopefully the music and food we seek shall be found.

I rented a bicycle - more on that later - and cruised the city areas hit by the flood. 250,000 homes had water in them.

Some, like the ones above and below haven't seen their owners since - whole blocks of deserted homes, overgrown grass, with the haunted symbols of search on the front of the homes -

That's the levy that breached on the right, car fenders and mattresses in the fore.

Here's a rickety drawbridge that crosses the canal that breached - Mississippi in the distance.

A 'double shotgun' cottage, with separate residences on the right and left. Called shotgun cottages cause you could shoot a shotgun from the back to the front, a design intended to skirt the real estate tax laws that said any room with a hall was not a separate room, and taxes were formulated from the number of rooms. Funny how no one ever has liked paying real estate taxes, or I guess taxes, period.

A house in the middle of the block, nearly deconstructed.

The house front symbols of search and rescue, 5 years ago.

And then some new homes - these modern homes were super cool, kind of placed in the midst of the abandoned chaos of destruction. They looked brand new - with multiple colors and simple modernist twists of architecture.

I mean, even the grass is green and manicured, which was not common from what I saw in the 9th Ward - and right behind it, and abandoned overgrown field.

And then on the other side of the Clairborne Highway stood the Hope Homes, which is somehow funded or directed by Brad Pitt and his organization. What struck me about these homes was not just the style, or the fact that they were there, but the simple act of bulldozing all the abandoned decrepit homes made a big sky difference - the clutter of debris and broken homes littered the streets and avenues elsewhere.

It's amazing to me these trees still stand - I mean, they had 25' of water and 100 mph winds - the saying should not be 'strong like bull', it should be 'strong like tree'.

Life continues as the post man passes. There was a lot of construction in this 8 sq block area, mostly these modern Hope homes, but like much positive economic activity, it propelled and motivated other homesteaders.

I haven't reached this project yet, but I think the homes are intended to go to the original inhabitants, or ones like those. Obviously there is some money behind the project because the buzz of construction was steady, organized and even the yards were finished prettily.

It's funny that even these homes 8' of the ground would have been flooded -

The River to the Right, the new homes to the left.

I covered a lot of turf on my 3 speed girlie rent-a-bike, got a flat tire, met some homesteaders, talked to a guy who was just finishing renovating his mother's home that was flooded in the storm, saw a funeral procession for one of 6 men/boys murdered over the weekend, and had a martini at the Napoleon House, built as a refuge for Napoleon after he was exiled from leadership-

A lot of history for sure.


  1. Thanks for all the pics of the new New Orleans homes being built. I really like the colorful modern style little homes.