Went to CLE for a day to see the mother-in-law who is not feeling well. Had to connect through MSY on the way back since CLE-IAH flights were full. Took the opportunity to rent a car and go see some friends plus show the wife and kids some of the destruction. Turns out the wife of my friend, born and raised in MSY, had not had the chance to visit her old neighborhood. My friend has not felt well since before the hurricane and she didn't dare venture into the destruction zone by herself. So off we went. Our first stop was the 17th street canal. You can see the extent of the repairs that have been made. You can also see ground zero behind it. I was surprised by the level of activity there. When I rode my bike through the area in March it was almost completely desolate and abandoned. While there are still more homes than not with no repairs, the streets are now all passable and all but a small few of the wrecked cars have been removed.
Just down the street from the canal the guard had set up a staging area.
They were out in force and you didn't travel far without running into a motorized patrol.
Next stop was the London Avenue canal levee break.
Looking back the other way towards ground zero, my friends wife said that there had been a whole apartment complex, about 3 blocks worth there. All gone now. The home was across the street and diagonal to the breech.
Then the moment of truth. Right across the canal was where she had grown up. Unfortunately her childhood home did not fare well.
She was pretty shaken even though she had heard the area did not fare well. The rest of the ride was pretty quiet. The whole area, ninth ward, lake shore area, parts of Chalumet, are starting to stink as I had thought they would. Someone is going to have to make a decision soon. Either you are coming back to fix your property or the city is going to have to knock it flat. We saw evidence of that happening already. We passed several streets that were blocked off and saw the demolition crews as work. One bright spot, the French Quarter was much busier than I had seen it in the spring. The area around Jackson Square is really starting to come back to life. Also, if you're a college student and want to make some quick money, most of the fast food restaurants are paying $9.75 an hour with weekly bonuses. My friend said in some cases the bonuses would equal 5-10k a year.
Once again, anyone who still thinks the federal government could have done anything more, or should be doing more, just doesn't have any idea of the level of destruction. There is not enough money in the treasury to fix all that is broken in New Orleans. My friends wife works at a roofing and siding supply business. Her bosses opinion is that it will be at least 10 years before all the homes that can be repaired are. That is making no allowance for another storm.