Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Orleans

We did a city tour of New Orleans - found out a lot about Hurricane Katrina and the destruction she left behind. There are 300 square miles of land in New Orleans - only 180 square feet is dry liveable land - 140 sf was flooded during the storm...

Not a great picture but this is an example of some of the houses left standing from the storm.
These are part of the "Brad Pitt development" - he is building an entire neighborhood of green houses in the lower ninth ward. There are tshirts throughout town that say "Brad Pitt for Mayor."

An example of one of the blocks in the Lower Ninth ward - there are some houses that are being lived in - we also saw some Fema trailers. They are waiting for the census to confirm but they believe about 185,000 people haven't moved back to New Orleans since the storm.

This sign just made me of the problems in these neighborhoods is that many of the restaurants and stores haven't returned to the area.

Notice the marking next to the lower part of the door - this is how the rescuers kept tract of who had been checked on after the storm. The top part of the X is the date - to the left is who the group that did the searching was (so many out of state rescue teams came in they had to keep track somehow) - to the right is the notation NE for no entry (they knocked on the door but didn't go in - most likely because it was too flooded) and the bottom part is saved for how many people were found either alive or dead.

This is the City of the Dead Cemetery. This cemetery is for "the middle class" - the majority of New Orleans is Catholic so there are many different cemeteries in town - all based on income.

This is called "poor mans row" - a person leases one of the boxes big enough for a coffin for a period of 5-10 years. Once that time is up that persons family can continue the lease or give it up - if they give it up the funeral home takes the body out of the coffin and pushes it to the back of the grave - and then leases it to another person!

Here is an example of a nice family cript - there were 8 names on this one. Our guide told us most of these fit about 6 people and when they needed more room they would take the bodies out of the coffins and stack them (usually in body bags) in the corner. He also said a cript like this one if upwards of $60,000.

It was difficult to read the script on this one - but there were fresh flowers next to it...

This is one of many levees we saw in the city - there were 33 breaches in various levees around town. New Orleans was 80% flooded, four of the surrounding Parishes had 100% flooding.

I just love this live oak and how it drapes over the streets.

The French Quarter in New Orleans...

The French Quarter with downtown (aka "the American section) in the background.

We went to a Christmas parade in New Orleans - it was a lot of fun. There must have been 5 marching bands.

Here is one of the many floats - all of them were throwing beads (notice the kids - this was a pg parade!). :)

Gotta love the Elvis Santa's!

Some of the many beads we got...

Just for you Saint's fans!

One of the many bands we stopped and listened to - they were great.

This was a group of motorcycle riders who kept going up and down Bourbon street waving at everyone (this wasn't during the parade).

Another beautiful building in the French Quarter.

This is Jackson square, the St Louis Cathedral is the middle building. This is about in the middle of the French Quarter but right on the waterfront.

On this block many tour guides line up to offer their tours - and on the fence behind them are artists selling their goods.
We would love to come back to New Orleans and stay in the city - we never felt that we were in danger within the tourist areas and we loved watching all of the different people of different cultures. We heard 5 different languages being spoken in one day.

The mighty Mississippi...