Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Friday, September 02, 2005

I'm having a hard time dealing with the devastation

Inside New Orleans - Sneaking past the police lines, we find a surreal scene where tourists are sleeping on bridges, restaurateurs are eating high on the hog, and looters lurk on every corner.

Surrounding this slice of passable streets are scenes of grim destruction. Smoldering ruins, twisted pieces of corrugated metal, hundreds of downed and uprooted live oak trees litter the streets. On the outskirts of downtown, clusters of shellshocked survivors wander down empty thoroughfares, pushing what's left of their belongings in shopping carts and strollers.

"I don't really know where I'm going," says Kendall, a woman from the Ninth Ward neighborhood, who declines to give her last name. "Wherever they take me, I'm going. Anywhere with electricity. At the Ninth Ward, the water is 20 feet. The water ain't draining. We have got to start all over." She rejoins a long, aimless caravan of New Orleanians from the eastern side of the city, who are congregating in the business district.

The Ninth Ward is one of the most flood-devastated neighborhoods. Lying to the east of the French Quarter, the Ninth Ward, which is predominantly African-American, is one of the poorest parts of New Orleans, and was also the area that sustained the most damage from Hurricane Betsy in 1965, in which 200 residents died...

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