Where y’at New Orleans? Four years after Katrina, architects, planners and builders have made messy, heterogeneous efforts at rebuilding the Crescent City. There’s a great article in the recent Atlantic Monthly profiles some of the approaches to rebuilding that are underway.
In the absence of strong central leadership, the rebuilding has atomized into a series of independent neighborhood projects. And this has turned New Orleans—moist, hot, with a fecund substrate that seems to allow almost anything to propagate—into something of a petri dish for ideas about housing and urban life. An assortment of foundations, church groups, academics, corporate titans, Hollywood celebrities, young people with big ideas, and architects on a mission have been working independently to rebuild the city’s neighborhoods, all wholly unconcerned about the missing master plan. It’s at once exhilarating and frightening to behold.
Great article in the New York Times Magazine on how those in polo shirts with sound orthodontia in Uptown New Orleans dealt with the chaos of Katrina. Rumor and paranoia produced bizarre well-armed Antebellum fortresses with backup from Israeli commandos arriving by assault helicopters in Audubon Park. But the writer, Michael Lewis, hopes the catastrophe might change the city for good. For the first time in my life, outsiders are pouring into the city to do something other than drink. For the first time in my life, the city is alive with possibilities. While you read it, listen to WWOZ In Exile hosted by WFMU.
Great photos from the Gulf Coast by Clayton Cubitt, a NY-based photographer who grew up in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Check out his words and images on his blog about his odyssey to help his family in Mississippi and his Katrina gallery.
Got a sinister feeling that the white old money of New Orleans is gonna rebuild the city in it’s own image. And this Wall Street Journal article describes how it’s already beginning. Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically, says Audubon Place resident James Reiss.
An amazing collection of 197 photos of New Orleans [it's back up] before, during and after Katrina by someone living in the French Quarter. It seemed like the first two days after the storm no one was really worried.
The stories are beginning to come out of New Orleans. You must read this amazing firsthand account from Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky , two California paramedics who were stranded in New Orleans after Katrina. All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair.
Just like the Onion headline, Area Man Drives Food There His Goddamned Self, three Duke University sophomores drove down to New Orleans and evacuated seven people in their Hyundai. “Anyone who knows that area, if you had a bus, it would take you no more than 20 minutes to drive in with a bus and get these people out,” Buder said. “They sat there for four or five days with no food, no water, babies getting raped in the bathrooms, there were murders, nobody was doing anything for these people. And we just drove right in, really disgraceful, said student Hans Buder.
Google has added another very cool and helpful mapping resource for Hurricane recovery and information. When you lookup an address in Google Maps, there is now an option to see a satellite photo of the post-Katrina flooding of New Orleans. The photo was taken Wednesday, August 31 at 10 am. Most places below Rampart Street seem dry.
Slate’s Jack Shafer lays out how the tv reporters are growing a spine and criticizing the official line coming from politicians about helping the people of New Orleans. And Matt Wells of the BBC even calls the situtuation the greatest challenge to politics-as-usual in America since the fall of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
The U.S. military sees helping people in New Orleans as a combat operation. We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control, Brig. Gen. Gary Jones. What the hell? American citizens are now insurgents? Does this mean the United States is now in an undeclared state of civil war against teenagers who looted guns at Wal-Mart?
As for the stuff you really wanted to know about New Orleans: how are the restaurants holding up? Half of the facade of Commander’s Palace is gone and Antoine’s is now al fresco.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune published only an online edition of today’s paper. Their site also has a growing collection of photos of Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans. And one blogger in Gulfport, Mississippi is getting out missives and photos of the destruction on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Also, don’t miss the latest from the nola newsblog.
It’s Fat Tuesday. If you can’t be in NOLA, then fix yourself a Pimms cup and watch online.
At first the Mississippi seemed to recede from its banks, and its waters gathering up like a mountain, leaving for the moment many boats, which were here on their way to New Orleans, on bare sand, in which time the poor sailors made their escape from them. Eliza Bryan’s description of the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquake.