2014-02-22 15.55.39Hey every­one.  This week­end I am in New Orleans for the very first time for a work con­fer­ence.  I am for­tu­nate enough to have my sig­nif­i­cant oth­er with me to enjoy the week­end with.  We’re hav­ing a good time.  Din­ner, & a cou­ple drinks on Bour­bon Street, etc.

Yes­ter­day we took a city tour.  It was Jen­nifer­’s idea, and it was a great way to see the city.  I will say a few things about New Orleans:

  • It’s a beau­ti­ful city with a lot of his­to­ry.
  • It’s a dis­ad­van­taged city with a lot of his­to­ry.
  • It’s a pover­ty-strick­en city with a lot of his­to­ry.

I am hav­ing a hard time describ­ing it because I went from see­ing an 8,000,000 dol­lar man­sion to going a few blocks and see­ing impov­er­ished homes that were nev­er ful­ly restored from Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na.  In fact, there are still aban­don homes, neigh­bor­hoods, projects, etc. Many still have the FEMA “badges” paint­ed on the front of the homes telling you  The date the FEMA team entered the home, the con­di­tion, if bod­ies were found etc.  I have to be hon­est.  It was sober­ing to see.  The dri­ver, a New Orleans res­i­dent, inten­tion­al­ly, (and sure it was part of the tour) took us into these depressed areas illus­trat­ing the diverse land­scape of New Orleans in only a few blocks from very afflu­ent areas.  He showed us the water stains that were 6 — 15+ feet high in dif­fer­ent areas of the city.  These are arti­facts that are almost 10 years old that are fos­silized in the his­to­ry of New Orleans.  Reminders of a dra­mat­ic SHTF event where thou­sands lost their lives, homes, and had noth­ing to come back to after Kat­ri­na.

As we were rid­ing down the road in the com­fort of our air con­di­tioned bus, we drove by neigh­bor­hoods where homes were still gut­ted, roofs were cav­ing in, etc.  I felt like my heart was sink­ing.  To boot, these were not homes that looked famil­iar to me.  Where I come from they looked like a small dou­blewide trail­er that had a door in the front and a door in the rear.  There were peo­ple hang­ing out in front of the homes with roofs col­laps­ing in on the 2014-02-22 15.55.31home, and peo­ple hang­ing out around the homes next door, across the street etc.  These are active, impov­er­ished neigh­bor­hoods where some homes were restored, and some were not with res­i­dents in many or all of them.

This is 10 years lat­er.  This is an area where our Gov­ern­ment offered to raise the homes 15′ off the ground on stilts.  Most peo­ple did not take advan­tage of this.  Some did.  The neigh­bor­hoods look a lit­tle awk­ward with a one or two homes on stilts.


As we kept dri­ving we also drove by ceme­ter­ies.  These ceme­ter­ies had walls around them that went as high as eight to 10 feet.  The dri­ver explained, at the time, the walls were put up to quar­an­tine those that died of yel­low fever from the ear­ly 1800’s to the ear­ly turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry.  Some of the ceme­ter­ies were beau­ti­ful with beau­ti­ful mon­u­ments that pay respect to the fam­i­lies that own them.  Oth­er ceme­ter­ies looked 100 — 200 years old with their mau­soleum like grave sites falling apart, with veg­e­ta­tion grow­ing from the roofs, looked spooky, ugly, and like some­thing out of a hor­ror film.  And, it looked like this dur­ing the day.  I can only imag­ine how it might look at dusk or in the evening.  Which, brings me to the warn­ing from the tour bus dri­ver regard­ing a per­son should NOT enter a ceme­tery alone.  That they should go in groups.   This is because this is where many of New Orleans home­less live, and that more than once those that have gone in, have not come out alive.  In fact, as a side note and some­what unre­lat­ed, as Jen­nifer and walked down Bour­bon street yes­ter­day, there were fly­ers up for a “miss­ing female adult.”  A bit sober­ing.  Let’s get back on top­ic…

2014-02-22 15.55.42I men­tion home­less because I am notic­ing a lot of home­less peo­ple in New Orleans.  Many “tran­sient” or maybe not so tran­sient home­less here.  They car­ry their gear, cloths, and belong­ings in back­packs, and many of them have dogs.  I took par­tic­u­lar notice of the many home­less with dogs.  I am not sure if it is for secu­ri­ty, stay warm in the evening, or a love for pets, but many of them are walk­ing around with one or even two dogs.  If any of you know why, I would love to learn.

It has been nine years, rough­ly, since Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na, and it has been an inter­est­ing week­end thus far. I have seen where the wealthy, the poor, the home­less, and more live.  I have gone from mul­ti mil­lion dol­lar neigh­bor­hoods to what looks like a depressed war zone with­in just a few blocks from the wealth­i­er sec­tions of town.  It occurs to me that New Orleans has a dra­mat­ic eco­nom­ic land­scape inter­min­gled with each oth­er.  So dra­mat­ic in fact, aban­don homes are only blocks from mul­ti mil­lion dol­lar man­sions.

I also learned post Kat­ri­na, New Orleans pop­u­la­tion was about half of what it was pri­or.  This no doubt also deeply impact­ed the eco­nom­ic land­scape, and con­tin­ues to do so today, as the pop­u­la­tion is about two thirds of what it was pri­or to Kat­ri­na.  1,800+ peo­ple died in New Orleans dur­ing Kat­ri­na as well.  A very sad thing.  I could­n’t help but try to make out the num­ber of people/bodies found in the homes on the FEMA mark­ings on the homes.

In clos­ing, sad­ly, this is an exam­ple of a SHTF event which in a decade is still not ful­ly recov­ered.  With emp­ty homes, apart­ment build­ings, com­mer­cial build­ings, etc.  New Orleans still has a way to go.  If any­one that reads this blog is a NOLA Prep­per, I would love to hear from you and get your thoughts.

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