Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Photo I took in the Ninth Ward on January 3.

It has been eight months since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The city has had eight months to start rebuilding. The city held a multi-million dollar Mardi Gras parade a few weeks ago.

August Blanchard went looking for his mother February 25th. He went to her home in the ninth and cracked the door. When he did, he saw her hand on the ground. There lay August Blanchard's decomposing body. In plain view. In the living room, face down. All anyone had to do was open the door and they would have found her.

But, in the ninth ward, in the poorest district in New Orleans, the search for dead stopped before it finished. And there are dead still to be found in the ruined streets of the ninth ward.

A landlord in Lakeview put a for sale sign on his home, only to find later that a previous tenant was laying dead in the attic.

Two weeks ago, searchers in the ninth ward found a little girl with a blue backpack laying dead in her home. A few feet away, they found the arm of a man who appeared to have been trying to save her. The rest of the man's body was found by carrion birds and other animals. His identity will never be known.

Wanda Jackson's nephew was six years old when he was swept away by the flood waters. His mother could not hold him because she was gripping onto a tree and his three year old brother at the time. Wanda wonders why the searches through the Ninth Ward were never finished. Discussions abound as to what to do in the Ninth Ward about rebuilding, but it doesn't seem as though anyone is asking about finding the dead bodies. "They did not build nothing on 9/11 until they were sure that the damn dust was not human dust; so how you go on and build things in our city?" Said Wanda.

Joseph Naylor (54), who had no family save a possibly estranged cousin, was found by his friend in the attic on March 5th.

Lydia Matthews came home to a neighborhood and checked on her neighbor Anita Dazet. Lydia found her face down, dead and rotting in the living room. The church across the street had been leaving meals on her doorstep for weeks.

The homes these people were found in, all had the orange or white spray painted "X" on the front. The front of the home said it had been searched. The dead body inside said otherwise.

The really horrible part about this story is thinking about those people who survived the flood. They were alive, and were going to be okay, but could not get out of their homes because their homes were collapsed. They just could not move the rubble out from around them, and there they sat waiting for rescuers. The rescuers painted an X on the front of the home, and they died.

Something went terribly wrong in New Orleans. And while it may not save any of those who have already died, we would be nothing short of ignorant to think that this won't happen again. Someone needs to look into FEMA. Something needs to change before the next hurricane strikes.

1 comment:

Maria's Biggest Fan said...

I am very sad.