After volunteering yesterday, we took a tour of the 9th Ward. I had been there in January, but it still is one of the most significant ways to try to fathom the devastation of the storm. Once we all get our pictures together, you'll have a more well rounded impression of the 9th Ward.
We had some pretty good discussion on the way about the fine line between telling the story of the victims of Katrina - and exploiting them. By taking pictures of people's homes and putting them on a blog - my goal is to show you what it's like down here. And I can't emphasize enough that this is just a sampling. And this is two years later.
At the same time, it is so important to remember that these are people's lives. They're people's homes - often several generations deep.
This is one woman's possessions. While some Katrina Corps volunteers were gutting the house next door, she came home to find her life laid out on her rotting front porch.
Volunteers offered to clean it up for her. But she didn't want it. It was too painful - the memories of her life.
This is the inside of her gutted house.
Since I had been there in January, one thing I noticed was the weeds had grown tall.
When the grass grows, the city often comes and threatens to put a lien on the piece of property unless you mow it. But since many of the residents aren't around to see these notices - they end up losing their houses. Some have friends or family come to mow it for them.
At one point we stopped at a church that has been left as a sort of memorial to how the entire area looked after the water had drained.
On the pews was a dried, cracked version of this. Katrina sludge.
We saw where the two places where levee actually broke.
We saw the Habitat for Humanity project, Musician's Village.
Lots of colorful new homes. After seeing so much devastation still there, it was nice to see some real, concrete evidence of rebuilding.