If you walk around my block you will see…
- Flooded homes. Some have been completely renovated, some are currently being renovated, some have been gutted and stand vacant, some appear not to have been touched since the flood. I’d say fewer than half are occupied.
- Cajun V&T Grocery. You know the one. It hasn’t been touched since the flood — a prime example of a nuisance commercial property.
- Adam’s Grocery. They have renovated and re-opened. You can get a hot meal or a cold drink. They even have a few produce items available, which I don’t recall from pre-Katrina days.
- Vacant lots. Historic buildings used to be there, but they were torn down in a hurry before enyone could object.
- FEMA trailers. There are trailers in front of flooded homes, and across Bienville is a big park with about 70 trailers. Those sat unoccupied for three months but now they seem to be full up.
- Garbage piling up. There’s always more.
- Nicely tended gardens.
- Neighbors! There are more every day. We first got neighbors back in January, and for a while it was only Latinos. Now there are more African-Americans. Xy and I still seem to be the only white folks. We’re so happy to see people that we almost always go up and talk to them.
For example, Gwen is one of the few homeowners who’ve returned. Most of our neighbors our renters, and for the most part they aren’t able to return to the same rental property they used to live in before the storm. As a result, they feel like new neighbors, and Gwen feels like an old neighbor, even though we didn’t really know her before. Gwen is living in a trailer on front of her home where she used to live with her brother Dan, who died shortly after the storm. Dan used to do odd jobs around the neighborhood.
- Warren Easton High School. Open for business! Stop by at the right time and you might even hear the band practicing, though they haven’t come marching down the street yet.
Xy and I try to take a walk around the block every evening. It’s like a microcosm of the city as a whole.