Scott and I had a great trip to NOLA this weekend (just got back a
couple hours ago). In some ways, it was business as usual for people in
the Faubourg Marigny and the Quarter, but in many other ways, it was
anything but. A lot of old faves were either closed or open in a
limited way. There was a lot of damage everywhere, but the Quarter was
mostly dirty as usual. We stayed at a B&B on Elysian Fields Avenue
and the medians were littered with garbage and debris everywhere.
Almost every building had this strange spraypainted insignia on it from
the rescue workers going door to door checking on people and rescuing
them (and their animals) when necessary. Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about and an explanation of the markings.
I talked to a lot of people who had evacuated and
then returned or people who came down here to do rescue/excavation
work. They all had such interesting stories. There were lots of
T-shirts that were Katrina-related, some serious like “(Re)New Orleans”
but others were a bit funny, irreverent, or just plain tacky (i.e., the
“Chocolate City” T-shirts or “I survived Katrina and all I got was this
lousy T-shirt…and a new Cadillac and a plasma screen TV). One of the
funny shirts said “Girls Gone Wild” and had two pink hurricanes
(Katrina and Rita) sitting at a table having cocktails saying “Wassup,
girl?” or “Hey girl!” It was cute. I almost bought one but forgot
to go back to the store where I saw them. Lots of the businesses on
Canal St. were boarded up or otherwise closed. I saw the Walgreens
where they showed people looting for food, water, and diapers (just a
couple blocks from where I stayed).
We took Brubeck with us and he was the most popular
little guy in New Orleans! Everyone just loved him and many let him
jump and lick all over them. He played with another dog at a park on
Frenchmen St. that belonged to a couple that had returned after
evacuating to Houston. The puppies frolicked for a good 10 minutes and
it was so cute to see Brubeck get along with another dog that well.
Dogs are such attention getters, especially if they’re cute.
I would encourage everyone who can to go and see what things are like
there. It’s horrific that we live in the most powerful country on Earth
yet we can’t seem to help our own when they need it the very most. It’s
all very, very humbling.