Monday, February 22, 2010

Trip home report - 4½ years post-Katrina

Four years ago, the ginger haired yank took me to a University of California Irvine basketball game - the halftime entertainment was a student singing "UCI - Under Construction Indefinitely" and that's the feel in New Orleans. I expected construction in Lakeview & the 9th ward, but did not expect it to be impossible to turn from Carrollton towards Tulane on many streets near Oak or to have St. Charles be closed near Audubon Park on the lake side, so the river side was made into a two-way street.

Decided to drive through Broadmoor since it's an area I rarely see. My eye ball estimate was 1 out of each 6 houses was uninhabited; if you wanted to count lots, then 1 out of 5 lots had no occupants.

It's somewhat obligatory now to see the Brad Pitt Houses, and any review has to be prefaced with the usual disclaimers - it's a well meaning endevour and the idea of a house using "lightweight concrete foundation anchored by two pylons, like a pier, which would buoy the house if floodwaters rise" is intriguing for the lower ninth ward, but the houses just aren't appealing - angles for the sake of angles, lacking in aesthetics, somewhat ugly to be honest.

By contrast the Musicians' village did it right in the Upper Ninth Ward. There's a classical appeal to the shotgun style houses and they did a nice job with the colours - eye catching without being too over stated.

Other sections of the ninth ward are about what you'd expect, but it's still jarring to see the area in person.

In summary:

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