I moved to New Orleans last year, sight unseen. I rented my house from an ad on the Tulane housing website, simply hoping it would work out. I remember using Google Earth to locate my new place and being surprised by the blue squares, which turned out to be tarps, and the rows of white Lego pieces, which turned out to be FEMA trailers, just across the street from my new home. I was surprised, having thought, like the rest of America, that maybe the whole “emergency management” thing was over. Nope.
I ride my bike past the FEMA trailer park virtually every day. One day, the trailers were just gone. Where did the people go? I don’t imagine there was a spontaneous eruption of rental units in the area. And today I saw this scene: mounds of dirt being pushed around the vacant earth left behind. This used to be a playground. Perhaps that’s what they’ll bring back. Today, though, on the verge of my one year anniversary here, I thought about the lost time, the lost play, the lost childhoods of this neighborhood. I don’t know where they’ll push this earth next, but these past three years can never be undone.
Most likely, the FEMA trailers were empty. There’s a huge “park” of trailers up interstate 59 in Mississippi. I don’t know the exact story, but someone got sick from formaldehyde so no one was given a trailer, and now they just sit in various places until everyone forgets about them, I guess.
I remember the same thing. Most of the trailers have just rotted away and were never used. 3 years later there was a huge fire in California which left people homeless and dislocated. I will never forget the contrast between the “care” in New Orleans vs California. This is the truth: they interviewed a man who had to come out to give yoga classes and they were packed by the dislocated victims.