Monday, October 03, 2005

Mad Max: Beyond New Orleans

So I have some time to tell you about what it was like driving through New Orleans and the devastated areas. It's pretty much like the Mad Max movies. There are no rules, except for one: do what it takes to get where you need to go. For example, yesterday we were looking for a way into the lower 9th ward, and we came across a pretty flooded underpass. A van barely made it through and since the Chrysler Pacifica (which I am driving) by far doesn't qualify as an SUV, let alone a truck (its a piece of shit), we decided that going through the water wouldn't cut it. I drove up on the sidewalk and literally drove up the embankment and around the flooded road. One way street? Think again. As long as there isn't something in the road that could bottom out your car or pop your tires, you can drive through it. When I went out on the 30th, we were in a huge diesel pickup. We drove up levees and through parks. It's like the videogame you've always wanted to play, except the circumstances which created it are so sad.

I don't know what royal idiot decided to let people back into the areas that I have taken pictures of, but there are people without any protective gear at all going into their sludge and mold and debris filled homes, trying to salvage what they can out of them. There is very, very little that they can get out. They are going to get sick, and probably some of them will die. It's disgusting in those homes, and it's a clear health hazard. Shame on whoever let them back in without instructing them to take protective measures or providing them with protective gear.

People on the streets in the lower 9th ward and the West End--which, so far have comprised of utility and construction(destruction) crews, insurance assessors, protective services, EPA, animal rescue, and those locals mentioned above--have greeted us with smiles and waves, so people are in good spirits down here, events notwithstanding. Those people and the number of zeros written on homes (which signify that no dead were found in that home) are the few uplifting things about the whole experience.


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