Today was a beautiful day in New Orleans. The humidity was low, the temp was in the mid-80s, and the sun was shining. In spots. Fine, it was pretty overcast, but I’ll take what I can get. I rode down through the CBD today to see buses of evacuees arriving at the Greyhound station and ice and MRE distribution at the public library. I then rode on Claiborne, over to Elysian Fields to the St. Claude bike path. These neighborhoods, unlike the Quarter and Uptown, still show the effects of Katrina and of the general poverty of this area. I was headed to the Industrial Canal to see what was up with water levels. I stopped on the St. Claude bridge to snap this photo. In my imagination, the levees and canals are–or should be–engineering marvels, clearly barring water from coming in to the city. But up close, they don’t really look like much. On the other side of the bridge workers are doing something to the canal, moving water through locks, hopefully doing repairs. As my friend S. pointed out, this city needs levees that will hold, not more extensive evacuation plans.
I then tooled over to the St. Bernard parish line. These parts of the city are still so damaged. If you don’t live over here, don’t have friends and family over here, you might forget that. The TV shows the Quarter, isolated parts of the levees or the river, but never this part of New Orleans. This traffic light was downed, but I don’t have any idea if this is the result of Gustav, Katrina, or just general disrepair. Regardless, the ride was a reminder that New Orleans isn’t simply “back,” no matter how much the media trumpets our progress. People still live out here, are trying to come home. It is sad to ride around here and feel like some neighborhoods have simply been written off and written out.