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Exploring New Orleans

Posted By Brett Bernstein, Mar 18, 2007

After spending our first night in New Orleans, everyone met with Stan for a tour of the city. Stan is doing research for his Ph.D. in Sociology, but has 33 years experience as a police officer and homicide detective in New Orleans, which provided an insightful take on the city. Four hours of seeing the beauty of New Orleans meshed with the destruction of Katrina gave us a crash course preparation for the rest of the week.

In most parts of the city, people are outside and working to salvage and repair. The hardest part, though, is touring the lower 9th ward, where the devastation is the most overwhelming. Entire neighborhoods are filled with houses practically beyond repair. Most are abandoned, but a very
few had signs of repair. Often the only sign of people in the lower 9th ward consists of a sign on the front door, boldly declaring, “WE ARE REBUILDING…DO NOT BULLDOZE.”

On Monday we begin our legal aid projects. We all look forward to getting a more personal understanding of the effects of Katrina. We hope that working with local residents will drive home the most important point of the tour: every one of these houses are homes. We are not just helping rebuild a city, but a community.

Overgrown lot with front steps of house

Partially collapsed house