time magazine's cover story this week begins, "new orleans today: it's worse than you think." i'm not one to disagree with the likes of time magazine. if they say it's worse than you think, it must be worse than you think.
i can't begin to describe how bad it is. the french quarter is largely intact, and it's actually pretty active (thanks to all the police, reporters, etc who are calling its hotels home). the bars are thumping at night, though the crowds aren't what they used to be. for one, they're a little smaller; for another, there are no women to be found. lively bar scene. yea.
the rest of the city, though... the rest of the city. we were fortunate (?) enough to have a bus tour around the city with the mayor (police escort and all). let me first say that i felt like a TOTAL FRAUD touring new orleans from the comfort of a bus. watching people trying to pick up their lives (the few that were) while being distracted by tons of loud sirens and yet another tour group was nothing short of embarrassing.
i've already posted a link to the photos on flickr (where i'll be hosting my photos from now on), but, really, what's another set of pictures? i look at them a week later, and already the raw emotion that went along with them is dissipating.
almost no one is rebuilding. most people are just waiting - and most of them aren't waiting in new orleans. they're waiting in one of the 44 states that they've called home for the last three months, and they're relying on the media to tell them anything about new orleans because they can't get in touch with anyone down there, and fema can't give city officials in new orleans any information about where its citizens are (and fema is the only group that knows). it's just a total disaster. our meeting was with the mayor, the city council president, and the lt. governor, and it was the first time the three of them had been in the room together since the hurricane hit (they're also all three planning to run for mayor. the election is supposed to be this spring, but considering the city has very few citizens...).
the city will never be the same - that's a given. the hurricane has already become part of the culture. parts of the city will be rebuilt and other parts will not. despite efforts to "preserve each of the 70 neighborhoods in new orleans," the city will evolve. already, there is a huge influx of hispanic workers - a demographic largely absent before katrina. some people will come, some people will not return, and the city will keep breathing, as cities have always done. modest mouse . talking shit about a pretty sunset