Skip to comments.Largely Alone, Pioneers Reclaim New Orleans
Posted on 07/06/2007 2:25:58 PM PDT by Lorianne
The sound of hammers and saws. New green grass. A few freshly painted facades. Birdsong piping from a young tree.
This is the Gentilly neighborhood today, once a backbone of New Orleans and all but given up for dead less than a year ago after flooding from Hurricane Katrina turned it brown and gray and silent in 2005.
Gentilly, home to about 47,000 people before the storm and a thin fraction of that now, is not dead. Haltingly, in disconnected pockets, this eight-square-mile quadrant north of the historic districts that line the Mississippi River is limping back to life, thanks to the struggles of its most determined former residents.
But they have had to do so largely on their own, because help from government at any level has been minimal, in their accounts. In recent weeks, some residents have reported getting checks from the states Road Home rebuilding program, but four-fifths of applicants have not
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Yet another sob story about NO...
We returned from our vacation in Texas this week by way of NO and the Gulf Coast. One reason was to get a glimpse of what I had been reading and hearing for the last two years.
What we saw was truly sad. Vast neighborhoods directly visible from I-10 that were basically vacant still. One in 20 houses might have a FEMA-supplied camper trailer out front. That one house would have some significant progress made. It appeared that those very few homeowners actually were trying.
Vast shopping and business areas completely abandoned and rotting. Entire apartment complexes still boarded up.
The overall impression we got - folks were waiting for “someone” to come in and do the job for them.
Our journey took us that night to Biloxi, MS. While the damage was impossible to hide, the comparison to the NO area has to be made - there was far more evidence of people TRYING to do SOMETHING. Very few completely abandoned properties in the damaged areas. Most had either been completely removed, or were in some stage of repair/rebuild. Many of the old hotels and motels along Beach Dr. just no longer exist - maybe a foundation, but nothing else. The casinos are making a huge comeback now that they can build on the land.
So - the long and short comparison which I believe is very telling:
New Orleans area - limited number of homeowners actually trying to lead the recovery. Simply waiting for government or others to do it for them.
Biloxi/Gulfport - people actually doing what they can to put the hurricane behind them. There was an attitude of optimism.
At least these people have chosen to roll up their sleeves and do things for themselves. Not at all like some of the people who were residents of the projects - they’re protesting at HUD in New Orleans today demanding they re-open the “developments” now. And ironically are saying:
We believe in being self-sufficient and independent of HUD and this government,” said Theophilus Moore, a ROPH member and resident of the B.W. Cooper development... But they got all of our money through taxes and are accountable for the suffering and inhumanity happening to us,” he said. “If they dont want to deal with black and poor people anymore, fine. Just give us the money you have taken, stop taking our taxes and we will help ourselves without you.
It’s that Can-do Mississippi Spirit.
I thought I read someplace Mexican citizens were now claiming New Orleans. That Ray Nagin was learning Spanish.
Should’ve just declared the area where Katrina hit a tax-free zone and it would have been up and running by now.
Most of New Orleans should be bulldozed. Let the sea reclaim half of it. Only the old parts of the city, like the French Quarter, should be preserved.
Thanks for posting this, Lorianne. Gentilly is just a small example of what is going on all over the city. It’s a struggle, but those with determination are doing it. The video on New Orleans East was also very informative.
Maybe instead of a Chocolate City, Nagin should promote a Ciudad Salsa.
I agree, send all the illegals there. A burrito in every pot!
I think your take is probably right on.
Just a thought but is it possible as well that there were more homeowners in Biloxi / Gulfport than the majority of welfare renters in New Orleans .......
Grateful for yer first hand peek at the aftermath of that arena........
Thanks , .......Stay safe !
“The overall impression we got - folks were waiting for someone to come in and do the job for them.”
I went there about a year ago and I got the same impression they are waiting on someone else to do the heavy lifting.
I could not believe that they did not put back up the street signs and I mean on the interstate!
And they where throwing their trash in the middle of THE STREET!!!!
“And they where throwing their trash in the middle of THE STREET!!!!”
That’s normal. A group I was in sponsored an area in the 9th Ward for an ‘adopt a street’ type of thing, to keep the trash picked up. We gave up after a couple years. Most of the people don’t bother to do anything for themselves and EXPECT others to do it for them. If they don’t care, why should anyone else?