Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A View of the Superdome from Lake Pontchartrain

I went home over the weekend.

I crossed over the Causeway (the longest bridge in the world, as my children never fail to point out), and drove through New Orleans, over the Crescent City Connection, and to the Westbank. It was a somber journey. The damage to the roof of the Superdome is visible from the causeway--the torn roof and black matertial underneath is clearly visible. The Doubletree Hotel at the foot of the Causeway is more plywood than anything else. There is trash everywhere.

I did not wander through the neighborhoods of various family members and friends. The reason for this is that I have come to hate gawkers--the ones who tour damage as if on a Sunday drive, slowing down to a crawl before my house, where I am working all weekend, every weekend, to drag things out to the street. I always find myself hoping that they pick up a nail in each tire. What I saw was on the interstate. And it was bad. The two or three places on I-10 where rescue workers were dropping those who had been trapped, where those people waited for days to be assisted and moved to shelters have not been cleared. These places, which many of you probably saw from above, have been cleared of humans, but all of the paper trash and debris remains. It is a very odd tombstone or place marker--like everyone coming back into the city has to reflect upon before being allowed to enter. The trash is most heavily concentrated in the shaded areas--where the interstate loops over itself, or where that remaining crape myrtles lean over and drop a but of shadow. It was profane, like disturbing the dead.

On the road, aside from darkness I would say that fallen furniture--mattresses, wardrobes, bookshelves, sidebars, and the like, were the greatest danger. There were few cars. When I got to the Westbank, it was oddly deserted. The landscape is obscured by piles of house trash both at the curb and on the neutral ground. Trees are bent over or blown over, making it hard to get your bearings. It's hard to recognize anything.


At 5:00 PM, Blogger Lana Hechtman Ayers said...

Hi Alison

I just discovered your blog while visiting my friend Kelli's blog.

Your decriptions of the area give me chills. I feel for you and all those in this plight.

I hope it will be home again soon.


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