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Happy Lundi Gras!

Monday, February 19, 2007

sunny 0 °F

I get up early to walk around the campground and buy a local paper at the casino. Beautiful day here. After breakfast, we get in the truck to drive around the area to see how the re-building after Katrina is coming. We drive through Pass Christian and Gulfport areas. A lot of trailers! Many parked at houses that have been repaired or are being repaired. Many new buildings and many places along the ocean where houses/buildings have been removed. There are several places where businesses have built new buildings next to their damaged buidings, rather than repair.

We're about 40 miles east of New Orleans, so we take I-10 into New Orleans for sightseeing around the French Quarter area and then plan to watch the evening parades. After we cross Lake Pontchatrain, the devestation from the broken levees in New Orleans is everywhere. This area still looks like a war zone. We're assuming this in the infamous 9th Ward, and it seems to go on for a couple miles. Even the industrial park and the Wal-Mart are vacant/crumbling. Hundreds of vacant houses can be seen from the highway. This area is by far the worst area that we've seen. Later in the day at the parade, Jere overhears one of the residents say that one of the problems is that the govt and insurance companies cannot agree on building standards to rebuild the area , so they can't decide whether to rebuild or move til that is decided. Over the next few days, the TV and newspapers are filled with stories of families dealing with govt problems in trying to repair/rebuild. It's been 18 months since Katrina and over the 100,000+ families that have applied for Road Home Grants, less than 1000 have received $ to repair/rebuild. The volunteers who come down to help re-build are a blessing here.

Once we get to the French Quarter, there is no sign of Katrina Damage! We visit the French Market for some souvenir t-shirts, enjoy the Zulu Lundi Gras festivities/music along the waterfront and then go to the Cafe du Monde in Riverwalk for the wonderful New Orleans beneits (sp?) and cafe au lait.

We walk to St Charles Avenue to watch the two evening Lundi Gras parades. We're told they start at 5:15 and should be at Canal St by 6:30, so we figure they'll be where we're at by 6:15. Well, they finally get to us at 7:15! And there are occasional large gaps in the parades, BUT we had a great time! We had a great front row spot, with fun people around us. The floats look great and every float throws beads out and some throw other 'trinkets'.IMG_5494.jpg

Posted by jengelman 06:05 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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