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Published: September 14th 2008
I arrived in New Orleans in mid-August. Needless to say, it has been crazy so far! I have been getting used to my new school, my new surroundings, and attempting to get my job off the ground. In the middle of all of this, New Orleans has had 2 tropical storms, 1 major hurricane, and 1 manadatory evacuation! But all is calm now, and barring any more hurricane activity in the Gulf, things should start to return to normal.
I came to New Orleans to study historic preservation and applied anthropology at the University of New Orleans. I am very happy with the school so far, and the professors are all very helpful and eager to work with the grad students. The environment has been extremely supportive. UNO is doing a lot of important recovery work within the city, and I am proud to be a part of that.
Before I left, I applied for a graduate assistantship with my department and got the job. I am working with the Chair of the Urban Affairs department, and will be helping her with some publications that she has coming up regarding the recovery effort. Through this job, I also obtained
an internship at the Preservation Resource Center! This is an extention of my assistantship. I am very excited about this because the PRC is doing the exact type of work that I came to New Orleans to do. After Katrina, the PRC contacted many homeowners in New Orleans, in particular within the Holy Cross Historic District, whose homes were slated for demolition. The PRC worked with these homeowners to repair their homes as opposed to demolishing them, and made a huge effort to save the architectural integrity and history of these neighborhoods. My job with them will be to contact these homeowners and find out the status of their home. The PRC was funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and now the Trust would like to know results of these interventions. So that will be my job, and I couldn't be more thrilled that this opportunity has come to me.
My apartment situation is a little less appealing than my job prospects! When I chose an apartment, I had to do so sight unseen. I chose a place in River Ridge that looked nice on the website, and is in a safe location. It is safe, but
What a view, eh?
This is just outside my apartment door!
the apartment is not in great condition! To make things worse, there is a highway overpass located just outside my door! I am hoping to relocate to the Uptown area at the end of the semester. In the meantime, at least this place is livable and will do for another couple of months until I can find something that I will be happier with. I had planned to move to the Uptown area within the next 6 months anyway, it will just hopefully happen sooner than I expected.
Since I have only been here a few weeks (minus the week and a half I was evacuated back home!) I have not had a lot of time to sightsee, but I have managed to take a few pictures around town. For some reason, I am fascinated with the FEMA markings left over from Katrina. I think it is because in a lot of the cases in Uptown and Lakeview, the homes are occupied, but the FEMA markings remain. I have thought a lot about why this is so, and I think it is because for many people the memory of Katrina is still so alive for them that they have
Poking around in the dirt...
Old habits are hard to break I guess!
not moved on from the experience. Taking the FEMA markings off of the house would be a symbol that one has healed, and in many cases I think people just aren't ready to do that yet. They are not ready to put the event behind them because they are still living with the effects of Katrina every day here in New Orleans, three years after the fact. It is going to take a long time for the city to undergo a collective healing.
I also took a picture of a lock. This lock is on Marconi Street in Lakeview, next to the Orleans Avenue canal. After Katrina, a large number of these locks were placed all over New Orleans to protect residential streets from storm surge. They are placed at streets where the levee may be too low to protect it from a large surge. Before an impending hurricane, the locks are closed by the Army / National Guard after the neighborhood has been evacuated. The locks are not meant to keep out water completely, they are only meant to divert most of the storm surge into a nearby canal. Hurricane Gustov was the first test of the systematic
I think this is my favorite "Katrina" home. I love the architecture, this house is a real beauty. Unfortunately it is still abandoned and forgotten.
closing of the locks, and by all reports everything went fine. Let's just hope the structural integrity of the locks won't have to be tested by a storm surge anytime soon...
All in all, New Orleans is treating me well and I am looking forward to taking advantage of all of the opportunities coming my way!
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