Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Katrina, two years later (from Moonpie)

St. Bernard Parish still has no sewage system, the government still works out of trailers. While some homes in Chalmette have finally been repaired, what's left of others still sit empty. The marshes are filled with boats and storm debris. The fishing industry sits idle. The waters are too dirty.

New Orleans East looks much the same as it did immediately after the storm. A wasteland.

The Lower 9th Ward is still a neighborhood of crumbling homes, very few people have returned. I spoke with one woman who managed to get a FEMA trailer. It sits next to the only thing that remains of her home; two concrete steps. Her trailer is contaminated with mold and formaldehyde. FEMA now wants to seize the trailer but can't promise her a new home. She is the only person on her street to return. She now suffers health problems.

Another woman, in the upper 9th Ward, had a FEMA trailer in Jefferson Parish but that Parish decided it was time to get rid of the trailers. So she lost hers and is now homeless again. Her house could take many more months to rebuild.

In Plaquemines Parish, the Corps of Engineers is hard at work on the levees, but the residents there can't rebuild their homes. Two years later, they still haven't collected on their insurance claims.

A lot of young people have moved to New Orleans and are working in bars and restaurants. I had an interesting conversation with a group of them one night. Almost all of them are on meds, or know someone who is, mostly antidepressants.

What gives?

More later. I'm returning soon...with a camera.

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