Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana

Even 7 years after Hurricane Katrina, the lower 9th ward still carries many scars. The devastation is unimaginable still. Despite its condition, there are signs of people rebuilding. An older but quaint neighborhood, its charm is visible if you look closely enough. Whether or not it is ever able to get back to being home for the many displaced families or not remains to be seen.
I have included some wiki facts between the photos.
 Just Outside the lower 9th ward
This house is right next to the freeway, along the Inter coastal waterway.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Multiple breaches in the levees of at least four canals resulted in catastrophic flooding of the majority of the city.

Beautiful, Tragic

Nowhere in the city was the devastation greater than in the Lower 9th Ward, especially the portion from Claiborne Avenue back. This was largely due to the storm surge generated in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a deep-draft shipping channel built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1950s, which destroyed tens of thousands of acres of protective coastal wetlands that once acted as a storm surge buffer for the community.

Nature continues


Even God's house was not spared.

 Storm surge flood waters appear to have poured into the neighborhood from at least three sources. To the east, water flowed in from Saint Bernard Parish, while to the west the Industrial Canal suffered two distinct major breaches: one a block in from Florida Avenue, the second back from Claiborne Avenue. The force of the water did not merely flood homes, but smashed or knocked many off their foundations.

 A large barge, the ING 4727 (owned by the Ingram Barge Company) came into the neighborhood through the breach near Claiborne Avenue, leveling homes beneath it as it floated in the flood waters. Storm surge was so great that even the highest portions of the Lower 9th were flooded; Holy Cross School, which had served as a dry refuge after Hurricane Betsy, was inundated, and even the foot of the Mississippi River levee, the area's highest point, took on some 2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) of water. 

Signs of hope in rebuilding!

Nearly every house in New Orleans was searched for bodies and hazards, then the findings were noted by a spray paint marking left on the front of homes. This graphic explains what the cryptic markings mean.

First floor off the ground!
In December 2005 Common Ground Collective volunteers gutted the first house in the area. From there volunteers and residents began gutting other houses in the community. Soon after Common Ground Collective opened the first distribution center in the area to provide returning residents with water, food and other necessities while there were no stores open in the area.

In January 2006, the great devastation and difficulties in restoring basic utilities and city services made the Lower 9th Ward the last portion of the city of New Orleans not officially reopened to residents who wished to return to live. It was the last area of the city still under a curfew half a year after the disaster. Officially residents were allowed in during daylight hours to look, salvage possessions, and leave, although some few had already done extensive work gutting and repairing their damaged homes in preparation to move back.

The most severely damaged section of the Ward is the lower elevation section, north of Claiborne Avenue. A Bring Back New Orleans Commission preliminary report suggested making this area in whole or part into park space. The suggestion is vehemently objected to by most Lower 9th Ward residents.

In March 2006 a group of residents and Common Ground Collective volunteers broke into Martin Luther King Elementary School to begin cleanup efforts. Not long after, the state school officials agreed to repair the school. The school has subsequently become a Recovery School District charter school and is running at full capacity. It is a rarity in that it has no management company. The school is operated by the faculty and administration. When asked about it Dr. Hicks, the school's long-time principal said "We didn't have a management company before and we don't need one now."

As of late 2006, a small number of local businesses in the area reopened and residents returned (many living in FEMA trailers). However, much of the area is still little-populated and in ruined condition. Work crews continue to remove debris and demolish unrepairable houses daily, but hundreds if not thousands are vacant and gutted. Many more buildings are still little touched since the waters were drained, with ruined possessions still inside severely damaged buildings.

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