The Meisels Go Home To New Orleans

Back when Hurricane Katrina was threatening the Gulf Coast, I did my best to get Ruth Meisel out. The day she drove to safety up north was the last time she saw her home, until yesterday.

With her two adult children in tow, Ruth Meisel returned to New Orleans to see what could be salvaged and tie up loose ends. She will be among the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands, who will leave their homes and move elsewhere.

New Orleans is being abandoned, wholesale.

I asked her son, my friend, Farrell to type some of his thoughts so I could put them here in the blog. I’ll sprinkle a few of his photos here, though the best way to see them is in this slideshow.

Clean up goes on. 80% of the city was affected. Some parts of the city have begun to function, albeit at half speed. This area is still without electricity and is deemed unsafe. It’s expected that electricity won’t be restored in New Orleans East for six to nine months. My mother returned for the first time since the hurricane and subsequent floods, to survey the damage and see if anything could be saved. She’s suited up and ready to go inside. In the background, my sister, Cheri, ready to suit up, as well.

It’s nice… no, it’s amazing to see Ruth smiling.

Here’s my read. She could be distressed with what she’s about to see, or she could be happy to see she raised her children right, and they are accompanying and supporting her. She chose the latter.

My mother knew from earlier reports and a prior visit by my sister, that things didn’t look so good. She’s been very optimistic and hopeful, looking forward and giving us much encouragement. My mother’s house survived the storm on the outside, but the inside looked and smelled awful and was a total disaster. Entering the front door we were greeted by a living room chair that wasn’t there when my mother left in August. That gives you an idea of how we were greeted.

From the marks on the wall it looks like 4-5 feet of water made it into the house. From the ‘bunny suits’ the Meisel’s wore, you can assume it wasn’t spring water.

Nearly everything was ruined.

One of the things that struck Farrell when we spoke on the phone was the proliferation of signs advertising Katrina related services. There are also markings, scrawled on homes with spray paint.

This house has been FEMA’d. FEMA is not an acronym here. It’s a four-letter word. BTW, so is Bush.
One of the city’s synagogues, Beth Israel, an Orthodox house of worship…Also one of the city’s oldest, which used to be in the historic uptown area until the late 1960s. Also on Canal Blvd, note the watermarks. Reportedly, the head Rabbi fled town, leaving the Torah scrolls to flood and be rescued from religious volunteers. The Rabbi has since been fired. My sister spotted prayer books and prayer shawls on the ground in front of the now-deserted synagogue….a sin in the Jewish religion.

Here’s how Farrell ended his note, and I’ll leave it pretty much intact:

As I visit here, for the first time in several years, 3 months after the devastation that has been chronicled worldwide, I have now discovered: A Missing City. Parts of the city and neighboring parish (Jefferson) we have seen are beginning to function, but it’s slow and without spirit.

In our many conversations with New Orleanians and Jeffersonians, one hears a great deal of anger leveled at Government. I could only find one person with a nice thing to say about President Bush. I asked why? The waitress at the seafood restaurant said it was the Louisiana Governor’s fault for not letting Bush send FEMA and the troops in. I then asked, out of curiosity, did she know that Bush was on a fundraising trip in California for three days before he did a “fly-over”, VP Cheney was buying a vacation house and the Secretary of State was shopping in Manhattan, while her home state, Alabama, was flooded. The waitress hadn’t heard that.

A newspaper stand owner or manager clearly vented his anger towards Bush, but didn’t spare either the local, regional and state governments, but felt, the US Government let Louisiana down.

Most of the Greater New Orleans area, (Orleans and neighboring parishes), as it’s known, with some 1 million people once living there, don’t have electricity, a home, assistance from FEMA, insurance companies, and they feel forgotten just three months after the hurricane and floods.. As is the case with crises the world over, once the cameras leave, the sense of urgency goes with the camera crews.

The stores and shops that are open are operating for limited hours due to two factors: limited shoppers and limited staff.

It’s quite unusual to be driving in one part of the area, say neighboring Metairie, where the shops and malls have reopened, only to continue on Interstate 10 to downtown New Orleans, and pass through darkness because whole areas have no power.

There were some signs of life downtown and in the French Quarter. The beautiful St. Charles Avenue historic areas seemed to be untouched and lit, yet, just a few blocks away, one would have thought we could have been in a war zone.

Rumors of price gouging exist. Household stores are reportedly charging double for goods consumers can buy in the middle of the state or in Mississippi for less. Gasoline is 30 cents a gallon more expensive than in the center of Mississippi or Louisiana reportedly.

Residents feel abandoned now. From the newspaper shop owner to restaurateur, residents don’t feel the city of N.O. census will approach even half of it’s close to 461,000 registered residents.

Employers are looking for employees. Potential employees are looking for housing, assistance from FEMA and the insurance companies, and those are the few, who have returned.

The Times-Picayune reported today that the New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, rumored to be in Washington on business, actually wasn’t there on business, but took his family on vacation to Jamaica. While I’m sure he’s deserving of a break, there are several hundred thousand to one million people, who’d love to take that break, if only they could get some help from the various government agencies so they could get on with their lives and rebuild. And I haven’t even begun to discuss the levee system.

As I write this at 2am Central Standard Time, I was trying to think, after only two days here, how could I best describe what I have seen and heard? The word that comes to mind is “abyss.”

New Orleans, which had once been described as the “city that care forgot,” from an old Mardi Gras tale, has become the bottomless gulf or pit. There are only a handful of truly unique cities in the U.S. with some history and character. When tourists think of those cities, New Orleans had always been in the same company with San Francisco, Boston, New York, Savannah, and perhaps one or two other cities or towns.

It would not be an exaggeration to suggest, if there is no sense of urgency, New Orleans could drop off that list in my lifetime.

Please, look at the pictures. It is so sad… so tragic.

About My Friend’s Mom

As Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, I phoned a friend’s mother to tell her to leave. I wrote about this in an earlier entry.

This past week her story was told in the Connecticut Post and New Haven Register.

I’ve attached both stories after the jump.

Continue reading “About My Friend’s Mom”

O is for Ophelia

As I type, we have Hurricane Maria and Tropical Storm Nate in the Atlantic. They are well to the east and not a threat to land. Tropical Depression 16 is a different story.

As was the case with Katrina, this storm has formed over the Bahamas and is moving toward Florida. Unlike Katrina, this one is expected to move northwest, toward Cape Canaveral and what is referred to as “The Treasure Coast.”

The official projections are for 60 knot winds at landfall, which translate to just under hurricane strength. As soon it the depression hits 39 mph (it’s at 30 mph) it will become Tropical Storm Ophelia.

When Katrina hit South Florida people wrote it off as a minimal hurricane. My guess is a strong tropical storm will get a lot more attention based on video fresh in people’s minds.

Katrina Timeline Straightening

I am one of those people who firmly believe FEMA and/or the National Guard should have been in New Orleans as soon as the wind began to die down. However, a great misconception most people have is the flooding started around the time the storm peaked.

Here’s what I wrote around 3:00 AM EDT Tuesday morning. By then the storm had moved north and New Orleans no longer had hurricane conditions.

Rick Sanchez was on the air, speaking by phone with someone from Tulane Hospital in New Orleans. The hospital’s spokesperson was talking about water – rising water.

The hospital had seen no real flooding while Hurricane Katrina passed by, but tonight, water had begun rushing in and it was rising at an alarming rate.

I could hear the fear in her voice as she described the water level rising an inch every five minutes. That’s a foot an hour. Already there was six feet of water outside the hospital. Soon, water would reach the level of their emergency generators on the second floor.

Sanchez was taken aback. I’m not sure he originally understood what she was saying. It was so unexpected – so out of context.

She said a levee keeping Lake Ponchartrain out of New Orleans had been breached. The cut in the levee was two blocks long and water was rushing in unimpeded. Even if there were pumps working, and she wasn’t sure there were, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with this deluge.

On CNN, Rick Sanchez kept asking questions, but it was obvious this woman wanted to get off the phone. Speaking to him wasn’t going to help her.

I heard terror in her voice.

The hospital had to get its patients out. Its patients were by and large critical. The only way to move them would be by helicopter and FEMA would be needed for that.

The other all news stations are in their usual reruns. I have no way of knowing if this is true. If it is, this is New Orleans’ worst fears are realized. Lake Ponchartrain could inundate the city.

As far as I can tell, that was the first national report of flooding in New Orleans.

From Editor & Publisher: On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told Tim Russert that one reason for the delay in rushing federal aid to the Gulf Coast was that “everyone” thought the crisis had passed when the storm left town: “I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, ‘New Orleans Dodged The Bullet.'”

So, maybe that was what Chertoff thought on Tuesday… but where was he on Monday? Even before the flooding, New Orleans was in great need. The city was without power. Windows were blown out all over the city. Buildings had been destroyed. People were homeless or were housed in shelters with no food, water or sanitary facilities.

Yes, the flooding came late, but wasn’t anyone there surveying the damage or deciding what kind of support the city would need before then? Even before the flooding, the city had suffered a tragedy.

Why was he depending on newspapers (or any media) for his information?

Dinner With A Hurricane Katrina Survivor

A week ago, as Hurricane Katrina was strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico, I spent some time on the phone with my friend’s 86 year old mom. I tried… I guess I did convince her to leave her New Orleans home.

Before dawn Sunday morning she got into her car and drove to the Louisiana Superdome. This was before all the tumult and grief there. Before long they had her on a bus headed to Alexandria. She never got there. The bus drove 10 hours to Baton Rouge (a one hour trip under normal circumstances) and dropped her off at LSU.

Though we’ve all see the horrific images from New Orleans and the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, Ruth was treated well at LSU. They fed her and there was air conditioning, while the power was on.

We all assume Ruth’s house and all her possessions are gone. The area it’s in was one of the hardest hit, under ten or more feet of water! Her car, in the Superdome parking lot is probably a total loss as well.

A few days ago, my friend bought tickets to bring his mom to Connecticut&#185. She will stay with her daughter who lives here in the Naugatuck Valley.

When I heard Ruth was coming to Connecticut, I told the station’s assignment desk and we sent Darren Duarte to do a story. Ruth is telegenic and articulate. The story was very emotional – as you might imagine.

Astoundingly, and much to her delight, Ruth has become a ‘TV star’. First it was the UPS man, delivering a package, asking if she was the woman from television? Then at Macy’s in the Trumbull Mall.

Last night, Ruth and family invited me to dinner at Tony & Lucille’s on Wooster Street in New Haven. Dinner was exceptional. Even Ruth, a lifelong New Orleans resident… a city known for it’s astounding cuisine… was blown away.

More interesting were Ruth’s stories and her amazing attitude. I don’t know about you, but if I had lost everything, I don’t think I could have maintained her composure and positive attitude.

Everything is gone – photos, letters, memorabilia. Furniture and cars, even houses can be replaced (and, thankfully, she has the insurance to do that). But how do you replace a lifetime of possessions with special meaning? There is no insurance for that.

Ruth has no imminent plans to return to New Orleans. She will probably take up living with her daughter and, if all goes well, just stay.

This is part of what will change New Orleans. At the dinner table we discussed whether New Orleans would ever come back?

Can tourists and conventions ever look past the images of gun toting thugs walking down the street or the misery of the people trapped in the Convention Center, Superdome and even on highway overpasses?

Will those with means, like Ruth I suppose, flee the city? It could turn from a primarily poor and black city to a totally poor and black city. An analogy was made to Newark, NJ.

That would be a shame. Though it’s an overused term, New Orleans really was a one of a kind city. It would be nice to see it return to that stature.

&#185 – When my friend, whose name I have kept from these entries, called his travel agent to tell his mother’s story and get tickets, the agent said the trip was on her company. Some stories from this tragedy are good. Most of us do operate the way you’d like under difficult circumstances.

More On Katrina’s Aftermath

This story is beginning to wind down for me. However, what has happened in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast cannot be forgotten.

I am mortified at the sight of the United States begging other countries for aid. Is this our true place in the world? Heaven help us all.

While I was away from my computer, my friend Ashley Adams sent this IM. He was gone by the time I returned to the keyboard:

Ashley: Geoff, why weren’t FEMA and the other fed agencies better prepared in New Orleans? You were telling me that this was going to be the disaster of the century two days before it hit.

That, of course, is the money question.

This morning’s New Orleans Times-Picayune had a scathing editorial.

Despite the city

Taking Steffie To School

There will probably be no other entry in the blog today, or if there is it will be very late. We’re taking Steffie to college. The car is loaded.

Because her school is on a road that leads to a major beach, we’re leaving early, hoping to avoid a traffic backup. Considering the forecast, and that this is the last of the summer weekends, leaving early might not be enough.

I’ve had the TV on this early morning. I’m glad to see supplies and personnel finally getting to the Gulf Coast states. That doesn’t take anyone off the hook. What went on the past four days was reprehensible.

Earlier, I wrote this debacle was brought on by ineptitude at a number of governmental levels. I still feel that way. A chorus has also risen, saying this was racially motivated.

The realt cause of this failure must be found without any hiding from the truth. People died unnecessarily when the government they depended on didn’t come to their aid. This is not a political issue anymore (if it ever was).

If there was criminal negligence, those people responsible need to be punished.

One more thing. Yesterday I said something nice about Anderson Cooper. Today I’ll throw in Shepard Smith.

Those who know me know, I’ve been very critical in my opinion of Smith in the past. Arrogant was probably my weakest characterization.

For the past few days he has been a compassionate advocate for those in need. I suppose there’s a journalistic line across which advocacy lies, and so it is conventionally forbidden. These are extraordinary circumstances.

Will this new “Shep” continue after the crisis subsides? Who knows? I’m hopeful.

A Quick Look At My Web Logs

When I look at my web logs, I can see how people get here. A large percent come in through a Google search. Here are the top ten search queries that led to this site over the past day and a half:

rebuild new orleans 80 11.9 %

cnn 10 1.4 %

computer receipt 8 1.1 %

how to rebuild new orleans 8 1.1 %

katrina radar 8 1.1 %

rebuild new orleans? 6 0.8 %

why rebuild new orleans 6 0.8 %

geoff fox 5 0.7 %

should we rebuild new orleans 5 0.7 %

will new orleans rebuild 4 0.5 %

I guess a lot of people want to know about rebuilding New Orleans – myself included.

Asking Tough Questions

This is a small blog with minimal schlep. I’ve been asking where our country’s response to Hurricane Katrina has been for days. Now, through Internet audio and video, I have watched others – mainly journalists with network weight, asking the same questions.

I’ve found most of the links on Crooks and Liars. It is a site I had never seen before today and, quite honestly, I don’t know anything about it or its political slant.

The answers I’ve heard haven’t been satisfying to me. The fact that these journalists now feel empowered to ask tough questions is a good thing.

I watched Anderson Cooper interview Senator Landrieu of Louisiana. He was having none of whatever she was saying – especially her glad handing other politicians for their diligent work in this catastrophe. He brought her back to dead bodies and suffering people.

In the past I have criticized Anderson Cooper for his ‘cowboy’ reporting in the face of imminent natural disasters. My opinion of Mr. Cooper has greatly changed, and to the better. I have seen thoughtful and insightful reporting on his part. He has won me over.

I’ve always enjoyed Jack Cafferty. Whoever at CNN decided to let him speak his mind did us all a great favor. Whether I agree with everything he says, I always listen and ponder.

In a piece of video I just watched, Cafferty used his age, 62 years old, as a reference when speaking that he had never seen a response like this to any disaster – ever.

I’m am watching Ted Koppel in a segment that has been captioned:

He had no interest in the spin, and began at least five questions with “With all due respect Mr Brown, but…” Koppel is leading the growing chorus of speaking truth to power.

Ted is interviewing Michael Brown from FEMA. This is not a good day to be Michael Brown.

The More I Watch, The More Unhappy I Am

Hurricane Katrina ceased being a weather story days ago. I now watch as an interested bystander. I am very unhappy with what I see.

If FEMA or any other part of Homeland Security has had an impact on those people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I haven’t seen it. Again, this storm wasn’t a surprise. I told people here in Connecticut how bad I thought it would be… but I wasn’t alone.

Reading the pre-Katrina statements from the Weather Service’s New Orleans office, there was no doubt this was being portrayed as a killer… a once in a lifetime type event. The Hurricane Center was saying the same thing.

Where was FEMA?

Where was Homeland Security?

Where are they today?

How can we allow our fellow citizens to suffer, as these people are certainly suffering? Where is the humanity that symbolizes America? These poor citizens deserve comfort.

New Orleans is a city filled with poor, black people. I would be easy to think this was racist or classist treatment. I don’t think so. I think this is a case of inept agencies. They would have poorly served any group so affected, regardless of station in life.

It looks like there are still people dying from this storm. How disgusting is that?

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

A doctor in University Hospital telephoned a Baton Rouge TV station, hoping to call attention to the desperate plight at his hospital. The hospital was running low on food and water, and had no power, the doctor said.

Where Is The Federal Government?

“Good afternoon…there is a desperate, desperate race to try to save those who made it through the storm, but may not survive the aftermath. This may be one of the saddest spectacles I have ever seen.” – Shepard Smith, Fox News Channel

I’m not in New Orleans nor the Gulf Coast. I only know what I see on television and read in the newspaper. I am not happy with what I’m seeing.

Times-Picayune

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looting on Tchoupitoulas Avenue

By Michael Perlstein

Staff writer

Looting in New Orleans was so widespread Wednesday that police were forced to prioritize their overwhelmed enforcement effort.

The officers were rushing to a break-in next door at the Sports Authority, desperate to secure the store’s stockpile of guns and ammunition.

“I think we ran them off before they got any of it,” said the commanding officer at the scene. The cops secured the store with heavy plywood before moving on to other emergencies.

There’s more, but it’s too depressing.

Where is FEMA? Where is Homeland Security? Where is the National Guard? Where are tents and cots and kitchens?

Why on Wednesday is this first being announced by President Bush&#185?

That Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast was no surprise. It was well forecast, both intensity and track. The predictions from the Hurricane Center were dire with some of the strongest cautionary language I’ve ever read relating to weather.

Wasn’t anything brought in to be ready?

As we have a moment to step back from this tragedy, maybe it’s time to question how the resources allocated for emergency services are deployed. If I were in New Orleans or the Mississippi and Alabama coastal towns, I’d be more than steaming right now. I’d want answers.

&#185 – Though President Bush is ‘in charge’, operational decisions should have been made at lower governmental levels.

My Friend’s Mom Leaves Louisiana

I just got this email from my friend whose mom evacuated New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina was approaching. It was tough persuading her to leave the house she’d lived in over 20 years and the city she’d lived in all her life.

My mother rang this morning via a Red Cross phone in Baton Rouge. I pre-emptively booked her on a flight for today. Once I heard from her, I had my travel agent confirm her on a 5pm Continental flight to Hartford via Houston. She will arrive at BDL at 11:23 tonight, and will be staying with my sister. We just sent to her Macy’s Gift Cards and my sister’s going shopping now to buy some clothes for her so she has something new and clean.

And, after I confirmed my Amex with my travel agent and to see if he could get me a senior citizen or AARP rate, his assistant called back and said, the flight’s on them. A fine and unexpected gesture.

Who knows, you may even get an interview?

Thanks to you both for your concern. Geoff, my mother said, again, this morning, she can’t thank you enough for your call over the weekend. It means a lot!

It’s possible that my wife and I will be driving up for the weekend.

Best,

Will she ever be able to go back? It’s a question that won’t be answered for a long time.

The Storm’s Gone But It’s Getting Worse

The past 24 hours were the most difficult time yet to watch what’s going on in the areas struck by Hurricane Katrina.

First up was the emotional reporting of CNN’s Jeanne Meserve. Here’s what USAToday said.

“It’s been horrible. … You can hear people yelling for help. You can hear the dogs yelping, all of them stranded, all of them hoping someone will come,” Meserve told anchor Aaron Brown.

“Mark Biello, one of our cameramen, went out in one of the (rescue) boats to help shoot. He ended up being out for hours and told horrific tales. He saw bodies. He saw other, just unfathomable things. Dogs wrapped in electrical lines … that were being electrocuted.”

Brown said Tuesday: “Jeanne conveyed a human being’s view of what she saw. Her reporting was incredibly solid. Her humanity was incredibly real. The marriage of those two elements helped viewers understand the desperate situation.”

There was an equally emotional side to Robin Roberts live shot on Good Morning America. She had gone to the Gulf not knowing the condition of her family. This was where she grew up.

Later Tuesday morning I watched an interview with a man who had lost his wife. He was on the street, a child in tow. He seemed dazed or disoriented as he told the story of being on a rooftop, holding his wife’s hand and then having her slip away.

As she drifted off, she asked him to take care of their family.

It was as sad a moment as could be seen. This man was the embodiment of human tragedy.

When the reporter asked the man where he would go, he didn’t know. His simplicity was his eloquence.

I’m hoping that sentence makes sense to you. I wish I could think of a better way to explain, other than to say, he didn’t need to speak volumes of words to have his plight understood.

I got an email from my friend whose mother had been evacuated from New Orleans home he grew up in to Baton Rouge.

She just called from BR. She’s now being moved to a new shelter in downtown BR because the school where she’s been since Sunday opens tomorrow. Since she probably won’t be going back to NO for sometime, as it’s being evacuated, I told her, once they feel it’s safe, we’ll fly her up to Connecticut and buy her clothes and get her settled. Once NO is able to open up, which could be a month, we’ll go down and survey the damage and decide where she’ll move and get her a new car.

New Orleans looks like a war zone. Very very sad..

Until today this had been a New Orleans story. There is plenty of damage farther east in Mississippi and Alabama. The pre-Katrina story had been set-up better in New Orleans. Now it’s all coming into perspective.

In Mississippi and Alabama the damage has been done. In New Orleans additional damage is piling on.

The breach of a levee I wrote about yesterday continued to pour Lake Ponchartrain into the city. Attempts to stop or slow the flow failed. As i understand it, flood control pumps only would pump the water back into the lake – a vicious cycle.

Civil law began to break down today. Looters were out in force. I watched people brazenly fillet a Wal*Mart. People were walking around with carts, as if they were really shopping.

CNN reported tonight there had been shootings and carjackings.

The city is preparing to move everyone out of the Superdome. It hasn’t been said, but I assume people inside are becoming volatile.

The New York Times is reporting a naval contingent on its way to New Orleans. Where have they been? Why wasn’t this done sooner? I don’t know.

Since the hurricane, the weather has been fine. On the Gulf that won’t last. Thunderstorms will fire up. There’s even the chance of more tropical trouble from the Gulf. After all, the hurricane season doesn’t peak for another few weeks.

Rebuild New Orleans

At some point, we as a country are going to have to reevaluate our commitment to having a city (New Orleans) where it is. Do we want the responsibility, since it is so susceptible?

Should whatever’s destroyed be rebuilt as is, where is, or should we encourage people to rebuild elsewhere?

The more video I see from Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, the more I wonder.

Notes From New Orleans

My friends mom, the one I encouraged to leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina was approaching, is fine though her home is not.

My mother rang this morning from the Baton Rouge shelter. She’s fine and in good spirits considering. They’re treating everyone well. She’s come to the realization that her home is gone as is her car. Since most of NOLA is excessively flooded she’s staying put in BR until the officials feel it’s wise to move on. At that point, we may have her fly up to my sister’s in Connecticut. When it is safe to go to NOLA, we’ll go down there to see what the damage is, and then consider alternatives, including whether she should stay in the city. It’s hard to know whether she’ll be away from the city for a one or more. It’s more than likely we’re talking about a longer period of time.

From a Mississippi State classmate who just started a job forecasting the weather as Hurricane Katrina approached:

The national news hounds are blowing this one. I know

I talked to friends watching from other places and CNN

and Fox were saying it was a glancing blow. Just

because there were buildings blown over it wasn’t

that bad. Now that more and more of the flooding

video is being seen I think people are changing their

minds. This will go down as the worst storm in

history.

Mike

There is no New Orleans Times-Picayune I can find. Their website hasn’t been updated since Monday’s edition. Their Tuesday front page link leads to last Tuesday’s.

T-P EVACUATING

Tuesday, 9:40 a.m.

The Times-Picayune is evacuating it’s New Orleans building.

Water continues to rise around our building, as it is throughout the region. We want to evacuate our employees and families while we are still able to safely leave our building.

Our plan is to head across the Mississippi River on the Pontchartrain Expressway to the west bank of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. From there, we’ll try to head to Houma.

Our plan, obviously, is to resume providing news to our readers ASAP. Please refer back to this site for continuing information as soon as we are able to provide it.

I’ve heard stories of the Brazilian rain forest. If a jungle area is clear cut and then allowed to grow back, it comes back differently. The rain forest is what it is because of how it evolved over time.

There’s a truth in that last paragraph for New Orleans. This city will come back (if it is actually able to come back) different than it was a few days ago. You can’t rebuild tradition and charm. You can’t plan to regain what was there by serendipity.

I’m still not sure we know everything.