My adventures as a temporary reporter in Monroe, Louisiana.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


I took a weekend trip to New Orleans.  Quite a bit of the city was open, but it was hard to find very many people, except in the French Quarter.  Here things were humming.  Everyone was there cops from all across the country, firefighters, the USDA, the FDA, national park rangers, and more.  The streets were filled with official cars.  There were a few different restaurants open, and lots of shopkeepers were there even if there stores weren’t open.  The French Quarter had electricity, sewers, and water that looked clean but wasn’t officially safe for drinking but was supposed to be okay for cleaning.

The most notable thing about the French Quarter was the stench.  Imagine a dumpster in an alley behind a restaurant filled with rotting meats, seafood, fruits, and milk.  Now imagine that dumpster hasn’t been picked up for a month.  That’s the smell.  I never quite got used to it.

We weren’t allowed into some of the hardest hit areas, but one place we went was Lakeview.  It was a mess.  The area’s very near the lake and was under twelve feet of rushing water.  Tree limbs were everywhere.  Everything was everywhere.  One house was completely washed off it’s foundation.  Boats were in trees.  Cars were washed onto lawns.  Even the streets were buckled and washed out.  All the plants were brown and dead.  Everything was brown and dead.

A few miles away in Metairie, it flooded but not nearly as much.  The water was only a few feet tall, but this was enough to ruin people’s furniture and carpeting.  Everyone’s belonging were mixed with tree branches and piled in front lawns.  It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of things being thrown away.  Maybe half a mile away in the commercial part of town, it seemed like life as normal.  People were driving around, shopping, and eating at restaurants.

It’s odd from going from seeing picture on TV to seeing the city in person.  I’m not sure I’ve processed the whole weekend yet.

I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.


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