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Friday, September 02, 2005A City's Open Wounds
Scott Gold - A walk through New Orleans is an assault on the senses: distressing sights and smells, an odd quiet in a water-choked urban wasteland.
I wandered out of the hotel Thursday afternoon, plunging into the warm floodwaters as bottles of medicine and pieces of insulation floated by. My high boots filled with water. I walked through the business district, down Loyola Avenue, and ran into John Love, 47, and Rita Burbin, 45.
They were awakened Sunday morning by the whimpering of their dog, Pup, who had crawled under the house as the storm approached. "That poor dog died," Love said.
Snakes came. Dead squirrels floated by. Love tried to rescue the neighbor's dog that was chained to a nearby fence, but the animal tried to bite him. The dog died, and his carcass, draped over the fence under the blazing sun, began to rot. A body was also drifting nearby. The smell became unbearable.
On Thursday, fire ants floated in and attacked Love and Burbin, crawling onto their legs, into their hair. That was the last straw. They grabbed their last pack of hot dogs and a package of dry ramen noodles and made a run for it, slogging through the water for four hours before reaching downtown.
"This place will never be the same," Burbin said. "It might look the same one day. But it will never be the same."