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TRAVEL JOURNAL INDEX > We Drove Our Chevy to The Levee

New Orleans   05/14/06 (Day 19)
We Drove Our Chevy to The Levee

With Jazz Fest madness officially over, we slink away to Kristin and Mike’s house in Metairie to gather strength and (can you believe it?) continue packing and sorting the bulging contents of our Chevy Silverado.

Though Kristin and Mike’s immediate neighborhood thankfully didn’t flood, many areas around them were (and still are) devastated. Not content with what CNN et al has been feeding us about the status of the so-called New Orleans recovery, we set out in the truck and drive through the nearby swanky Lakeview area to see for ourselves. And see we did.

Home after fancy home was washed off its foundation. Car after car was wrapped around a tree. And more than eight months after Hurricane Katrina hit, all the destruction and debris is still in plain view awaiting some miraculous clean up that hasn’t yet come. The overall mood is frustration with the institutions displaced residents have turned to for help including their insurance companies and their city government. It makes the looming mayoral run-off election between incumbent Ray Nagin and Mitch Landreau even more relevant. In case after case, even the most destroyed and abandoned yards were sporting an election sign declaring allegiance to one or the other candidate.

After a few hours it began to feel like the whole world was one big disaster area, so we retreated back to the haven of Kristin and Mike’s house and recuperated by rough-housing with their star dog Ellie who plays tug of war like it’s her job. The normalcy of green grass and dog drool were just what the doctor ordered and we hope everyone in New Orleans gets a dose sooner rather than later.

Next up: the bottom line (and faint signs of hope) in the all-but-obliterated 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish and we will we finally manage to pry ourselves away from New Orleans?

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