My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
A Journal (more or less)

New Orleans
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It is depressing to drive into New Orleans from the east. From the interstate it appears almost devoid of people. There are cars, but they are mud-covered and have an abandoned look to them. There are rows and rows of apartment complexes with few signs of life about them. Most show extensive damage. The Sam's and WalMart in New Orleans East have empty parking lots and boards across their fronts.

There are two signs of life: A Ford dealership is open and advertising on TV. (This is where I bought my Escape three years ago.) A little further into the city there is a Home Depot that is open. That's it, as far as I can see while driving.

On the other hand, it's "up and over" on the High Rise bridge over the Industrial Canal. I'd like to be a passenger in a car going over the High Rise--then I'd be able to look down and see the damage from the storm surge that came up that canal. And if I was headed East I could see MR. GO (Mississippi River Gulf Outlet) which "hosted" another storm surge that was devastating to the Ninth Ward--a middle/working class neighborhood.

I could get used to the low traffic level, but traffic is price that a vibrant city must pay.

Down around St. Charles Avenue, things looked almost "normal." The traffic was light, but there WAS traffic. It was odd to see no street cars running up and down the neutral ground. But it had lots of signs of life, at least in the part where I was. Trees have been trimmed and there are no huge piles of debris.

Over in the area around Orleans Avenue and Basin Street, however, it is a different story. The area under the interstate is packed solid with cars--many of them with the tell-tale mud on them. I saw few signs of open businesses and almost no people. The traffic lights were not working there.

Of course, the traffic lights in the medical area weren't working either. The parking lots that used to handle the many medical center employees and visitors were empty. The front of the Tulane Cancer Center was boarded shut. No people could be seen walking through the bridges between buildings.

But along Loyola Avenue things were much brighter. That's where the tourist area sort of begins, and tourism used to be a major enterprise in New Orleans. And it still is, although much reduced in scope. There ARE parts of the city where Katrina evidence is not obviously visible.

But New Orleans East is in a really bad way.

The traffic tells the story.

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