Tuesday, April 18, 2006
new orleans needs an extreme home makeover
yesterday, after our house gutting adventures, we drove through the lower ninth ward. it's a surreal post-apocalyptic landscape. houses on top of cars, houses on top of houses. who knows what the hell they're going to be able to do with this neighborhood.
with the mayoral elections on saturday (the day i leave), as i see the smiling happy faces on the ubiquitous billboards, i wonder what kind of difference any of them could make. working traffic lights would be great. how about picking up the enormous piles of trash and construction/deconstruction debris on every tree lawn? that would be a good start.
but there is a can-do optimistic spirit in the air. people want to rebuild, they have hope and courage in the face of all that they've endured. riding the bus and the streetcar to the french quarter yesterday, all of the random conversations that i overheard had something or other to do with katrina: commuting from houston, the sky-rocketing price of apartments in the west bank, rehabing mom's house in gentilly... i was instantly taken back to riding the subway in new york in the weeks after september 11th.
the french quarter was eerily quiet, yet open for business, like the deserted boardwalks of coney island on a cold february saturday. just waiting, in suspended animation, holding on, trying desperately to survive...
it felt really good, in a sad, depressing kind of way, to finding some poloroid photographs, and a michael jordan basketball card, as the only salvageable items in the home that we gutted today.