Sunday, March 02, 2008

New Orleans - Part 2

New Orleans is an interesting city. The city is flat and surrounded by contrasting images of wealth and poverty. It is a city where old buildings are reused. For example the Ritz has bought up several buildings, such as the old Kresge building (see pic below) and turned them into a Ritz Hotel.

As you know the degree of devastation was massive, so much so that neighborhoods are still recovering. While much of the media is focused upon the Ninth Ward, one the lowest lying areas and the most impacted area by flooding, there are homes throughout the area that are impacted. It is not uncommon to look down a street to see all but one or two homes repaired or in the process of being repaired.

The Ninth Ward is caught up in politics. Most of the homes have been bulldozed and few are being rebuilt. Most homeowners did not have insurance and the residences are expecting the government to rebuild their homes at taxpayer expenses. Some say this area should not be rebuilt as it is the one that is most prone to future devastation. Others argue that they should be rebuilt but with codes requiring that the houses be raised at least one story with the ground level forming storage and parking garages. Erecting such homes would be much more expensive and the government covering the bulk of the expense is debatable. Those who argue that the government should carry the full costs (owners may pay a nominal amount) note that the government’s hesitancy to build the homes is a sign of institutional racism and the government not being sensitive to the needs of the poor.

Above is the pic of the Ritz which starts in old Kresge (K-Mart) building and has rooms on the buildings to its right and left. Below are two old stone buildings.

Notice the old wooden structure in the heart of Bourbon Street. Do to its age, and the nature of the community, this building cannot be replaced. Below is the statue to General Andrew Jackson that stands before the Cathedral. Jackson defeated the British during the 1812 war.

Street car on Canal Street. Below is a look up Canal Street away from the Mississippi River. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter starts at Canal Street (French Quarter is to the right in the picture).


Jenn said...

the last 2 photos look like they are from 1940s LA

Barbara said...

Very cool pics.

Catharine said...

I always wanted to visit NO. I'm not so sure I want to now. I think the disaster and all the politics about it have turned me off. in a few years I may consider it again. Hopefully by then there would be enough years pass for rebuilding properly.