New Orleans trip report
On the drive over to New Orleans, I recorded a podcast that I may or may not post. It was a very spur of the moment idea. Upon arrival, I checked into the W New Orleans -- to see how the other half lives -- on points. The W wasn't too impressive; I've been to nicer Westins and Sheratons. The W was just overpriced and underwhelming. Service wasn't great, and I think I prefer classy to the W's trendiness.
General Noise was good, and had a few songs I hadn't heard before. You should check them out.
On Saturday, we went and toured the Ninth Ward to see what the damage was like a year later. There was still plenty of trash strewn about, and most of the houses looked unlivable. On the other hand, compared to videos my parents brought back from Mississippi, the damage was much less visually striking. In Mississippi, everything was pretty much just flat out leveled. By contrast, in New Orleans most of the houses were still standing. In fact, churches were the large majority of collapsed buildings that I saw. I think that part of this is because we were in the Upper Ninth Ward and Eastern New Orleans, not in the hardest hit Lower Ninth Ward. I don't think we saw many watermarks above six or seven feet. Pretty much every house had TFW (toxic flood water) spraypainted on it, with a date. So you could figure out where the water was on that date, which was usually pretty close to the watermark.
Although there were some people in the streets, the areas I saw looked largely untouched post-Katrina. There were a few rebuilding projects (several of which were Habitat for Humanity), but by and large appeared to be fairly deserted. We saw quite a few military police and accompanying Humvees more than we saw police, which surprised me.*
As for the touristy spots, I took a walk down Bourbon Street. I'm guessing it wasn't as packed as it would have been two years ago, but it was more or less the same. The difference was on other French Quarter streets like Royal, Dauphine and Decatur, which were all dead even on weekend nights.
So that's what I saw. It's definitely something you need to see for yourself to understand, I think.
UPDATE: Oh, and on the drive back I started feeling sick for the first time in years. Fortunately, my body feels slightly better today.
* Only saw military police in the 9th Ward.
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