Friday, November 02, 2007

New Orleans and returning home

Tuesday morning I had a few hours before I had to be at the airport so I did some driving around to areas I had been to before but this time with the intent of taking pictures. I came across this elementary school which was flooded and is still not open. Kids are being bused to schools now as the neighborhoods are still not filled back up and children are few and far between.

I found the color combinations of this just wonderful, but obviously the house is not in a livable condition. I could not tell if it had been gutted or not...most houses have been.
Progress is being made on some houses. This house has been refurbished by gutting it down to the studs and bare floor and sometimes subfloor, redoing the electrical and plumbing and then rebuilding the house. But it does not look like anyone is living in it yet.
Here is a duplex that waits to be rehabilitated.
This little shopping area in the neighborhood is completely vacant. None of the stores are open, all have been gutted. People have to drive quite a ways to get what they want.
You can see Blockbuster all closed and gutted. Not enough customers to justify reopening, if they are going to.
This is a view of four different houses right in a row. Of course, the FEMA trailers are there. You can see in the background that one house is being rebuilt. I am not sure just what the status is of the other houses but people are living in their trailers.
And a corner house with two trailers...the house is gutted but does not appear to have had anything done.
And still another with no work yet.
But then I came across this vacant lot with this sign...a very hopeful sign!

Getting my overloaded bag down the stairs and in to the car caused my lower back to get slightly hurt, which I didn't really realize until later that night after I had sat in airplane seats for six hours and sat in the terminals for another four hours. By the time I got home my lower back was screaming.

Tuesday I went in to the doctor, he verified that it was only a strain and that it would get better, etc. etc. And it has.

Wednesday I tried to work on some projects but have had a hard time focusing on my art.

I have been reading a very interesting book by Chris Rose called "One Dead Body in the Attic". Chris is a columnist for the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans. He chronicles a year and a half of his life from the hurricane to the end of 2006. He went in to a severe depression and finally agreed to get medical help. His first person accounts of the area are so touching.

He also discussed the fact that many of the people who have come down to New Orleans have returned to their own lives with feelings of anxiety. Certainly this comes from having seen such horrendous living conditions that people are still living in and knowing that one can only do so much and so much more is needed.

Today I started working on some small projects but still found myself having trouble focusing. Fortunately, my daughter called and wanted to know if we could take Jacob for a few hours so she could run some errands. Spending time with him has helped to bring me back to my world. Understanding all of the feelings that I am going through are normal also helps.

Depression is rampant in New traumatic stress. However, the tourists in the big hotels and also the French Quarter can go about their touring without ever seeing anything really bad.

There is so much help that is needed. Do what you can. It is the people-to-people programs that is working to solve the housing situation, one house at a time.

I went by the house we had worked on last week and a new crew of volunteers was there working away. Floors were almost done, re-taping was done and just needed to be repainted, the laminated floors were just about done, the tiling was almost done and they were going to be doing the baseboards before too long. I am so glad that I was able to be a part of this...oh, yeah, they were also painting my railings!


Anonymous said...

I feel that it is downright immoral and criminal that we have spent our wad in the middle east and left our own to fend for themselves. This is a travesty.

I can understand why it might take some time to get back into your own creativity.

Rayna said...

Ditto to what Gerrie said.