New Orleans: Three Years Later
Several months prior to Hurricane Katrina I watched a Discovery Channel feature on New Orleans geography, which detailed how the low-lying city was likely to experience a catastrophic flood. Shortly thereafter Katrina hit, and nearly every aspect of the Discovery special came to fruition. Of course the documentary failed to predict the completely slack government and aid response.
Fast forward three years. From a media standpoint New Orleans is an afterthought. As a bystander, it’s easy to assume things are back to normal, or at least well on their way.
Recently I got to see first hand how “not back to normal” parts of the city still are, three years later. Venture beyond the French Quarter (which sits above sea level and was in a sense spared) and the few rebuilt upper-class white neighborhoods, and you’ll find a city that has seen very little in the way of aid.
While tourism provides jobs for many who were left with nothing after the storm, it’s clear very little money beyond that goes back to the people. There were no donation buckets in hotels (or anywhere at all). Expensive tours bring out-of-towners through the Lower Ninth Ward in large buses, a scene much like a Safari. There is no direct tourist tax to give money back. There should be.
Much as scientists warned about a Katrina like storm long before it happened, Wired Science recently published a story which describes how California will no doubt experience a disaster of Katrina proportions, if not worse.
In June 2008, President Bush signed a bill approving another (roughly) 200 billion dollars be allocated to the Iraq War for 2008, which brings the cumulative total to close to $800 billion. Yet much of the meager 70 Billion (or roughly six months in Iraq) promised for Katrina relief remains stuck in bureaucratic red tape.
The following photos were shot around New Orleans — mostly in the Lower Ninth Ward — during November 2008, three years after the storm. They were not shot from a tour bus.
Check them out after the jump.