10 Years Later… Hurricane Katrina

katrina memorial scrap house 10 years later

As you may have realized from the photos and posts this past week, I was fortunate to spend a week-long vacation with hubby in New Orleans, Louisiana.

On the last day of our vacation yesterday – after more amazing food and drink, fun and celebrating, exploring and experiencing, art and culture, people and places, sun and heat than we could have imagined – we decided to spend our last day on a tour of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, which just happens to have occurred 10 years ago today.

It was heartbreaking to see the destruction and the devastation that still remains in many places.  It was also encouraging and uplifting to see and hear of the wonderful stories of rebuilding and humanitarianism that have occurred and are still occurring.  (In fact, as I type this at midnight in our hotel room, I can still hear the music and cheers of the crowds outside and 11 floors below as Lil’ Wayne, a Rap Artist Entertainer, who was born and raised in the 9th Ward (which is the area that was most devastated by Hurricane Katrina), is hosting a benefit concert right outside the Superdome where an estimated 35,000 evacuees fled for a “shelter of last resort.”

The photo above is the “Scrap House” Memorial to Hurricane Katrina that was built by New Orleans artist Sally Heller and unveiled on the fourth anniversary of the storm on August 29, 2009.  It stands across the street from the city’s convention center, where many refugees lived after their homes were destroyed.

The battered house sits in a tree whose bark is made of metal scraps from salvaged 55 gallon oil drums.

Heller was inspired to create this monument after seeing boats in trees and house on top of cars in the aftermath of the storm.

I am sharing the photo below (which is one of at least 50 photos I took yesterday), because this plaque really struck me to the core as I learned so much more about this horrific disaster.

floodwall sign katrina nola

Today, I recognize and honor all those that suffered such horrendous destruction and loss ten years ago.  I also celebrate their courage, spirit of survival, rebuilding, and perseverance.

I am forever changed, forever humbled, forever grateful.

Jodi

29 thoughts on “10 Years Later… Hurricane Katrina

  1. ….you’ve said it better than anyone, Jodi. In so many ways building a city in this particular location was a grand error–like living on the side of a volcano–yet once done, it was a grand and diverse and artistically-rich city, poised on the brink, waiting for the big one. . . . . and there may well come another, and worse. We live in dangerous climate-changed times.

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  2. That was such a truly sad and unbelievable time! I remember some of the images that are still left in my brain. Horrific! That is wonderful that you and Marty had a week long vacation in New Orleans! How fun!!

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  3. It was a truly devastating time for a truly amazing city (built in, admittedly, a dangerous place.) The failure of the levee (the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers), the slow response of the Federal government, and the dismissal of the plight of those affected, who were mostly poor and African American, are all very sad. The people of New Orleans are fighters and have fought to rebuild their city.
    Have you seen When the Levees Broke (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Levees_Broke)? Amazing, heartbreaking.
    I also found this: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/race-an-issue-in-katrina-response/
    Thanks for sharing!

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    • So heartbreaking and so real when you hear the first hand accounts of the locals. We met so many beautiful spirits that shared the tragedy and the beauty of the Han spirit.

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  4. Hi Jodi, thank you for sharing your lovely trip! Always look forward to your blog posts! My husband and I are contemplating a trip To NO this fall and wondered if you would mind sharing tips on where to stay, eat, visit, etc.? Thank you so much! Pam

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  5. So great that you could take a vacation there, but oh so sad when you remember what happened 10 years ago! Thank you for the picture of that touching memorial and the pic at the end, the words do say it all.

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  6. Wow what a poignant “portrait” you “painted” of your visit. We must get together soon over refreshing cold drinks and listen to your experiences. Safe travels. Italian hug to you both.

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  7. Our neighbor’s are both California Highway Patrol officers. She was sent to New Orleans shortly after Katrina as part of a coalition to assist in the recovery. She told us the devastation was much worse than even the media portrayed it (in fact, it still is very bad for those of less means even to today), and she said it had a profound effect on her and her fellow officers. The people of New Orleans are a resilient lot, but it was a shape they had to go through what they did in the first place. She and others who were sent there to help felt that the governments response was way too slow, and so many more lives were lost as a result. Thanks for the photos, Jodi.

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    • I hope you do not have the opportunity either, but I must say, they are still in need of many volunteers. It is still so much worse than we all realize, and WAS so much more awful than you can even imagine. I hope I have opportunity to share more of some of the stories I heard from locals. They are in my memory for now. 🙂

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  8. A touching tribute, thank you! Shortly after Katrina hit, the humane society I volunteer for sent in a rescue team to help evacuate the stranded animals (including the many pets that were separated from their owners), and they worked very closely with the agencies rescuing people. They said the scope of the devastation was so much larger than shown on TV, and the photos they have of their time down there are just heartbreaking. I hope that never happens again….

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    • You are so right Ann. I had not realized, until seeing and talking to locals there, how much everyone was impacted! Even those that were not “flooded” had hurricane and rain damage. Schools closed for A YEAR! Can you imagine being a senior in high school, and having no school to go to? Or a taxi driver with nobody to drive and no way to support your family? Can you imagine having money in a local bank that is closed and you cannot access it? All people had was the clothes on their back and the money in their pockets for a LONG time. They had to leave – but where to go? I am forever affected by it all now.

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      • Yes, I know the people who went down there immediately afterwards to help said their lives will never be the same after just experiencing it that way. I can only imagine how difficult it was for those who lived there. The aftermath was just horrendous. The natural disasters drop out of national news fairly quickly, but recover takes a very long time and is so hard on everyone who has to live through it. Thanks again for writing about it, I think spreading the awareness helps.

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