A Well Raised Southern Girl Always Says Her Thank You’s

Roots Run Deep Here

Photo by Maringouin

My mamma raised me right so I want to let everyone know formally (wink!) who supported, tweeted, linked to, talked about and shared our Katrina Photo Project how much I appreciate y’all. I think it turned out well and received a lot of good buzz considering it was a last-minute brainchild born of an impulsive mother. I want to say a special thanks to my sister NOLAFemme, Maringouin, for jumping in and saving my ass when I was feeling overwhelmed & wondering why I thought I could get and post 60 days worth of photographs. Well. Shows what I know – I ended up with way more than 60 days worth thanks to the photographers who contributed to this project and I got some posting breaks thanks to Maringouin. But I have to tell ya, it was a little nerve-wracking in the beginning.

Luv, luv, luv to the following people who contributed photos and helped make this a community effort:
Chris Lorenzen
Maringouin
Geovanni Velasquez
Stephani Leff
Julia Pretus
Laura Bergerol
Rex Dingler
Valentine Pierce
The Preservation Resource Center
Edward Branley
anthonyturducken
Greg Rhoades

Huge thanks to those who shared our project with their readers:

Liprap’s Lament – The Line

What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today

On Transmigration here and here and here

Project NOLA

Humid Beings

The Times Picayune/NOLA.com (Special thanks to Terri Troncale)

and special thanks to a true friend, Editilla of New Orleans Ladder who posted a link to us every single day of the project. You can’t buy support like that.

Big Twitter hugs to everyone who tweeted us – and there were many. I know I’m missing many of you (due to my disorganization–I should have made notes as we went along.) but I do want to recognize the most prolific Tweeters:
@LaStateMuseum
@YatPundit
@JuliaPretus
@LauraBergerol
@TerriTroncaleTP
@MoxieB
@LunaNola
@Editilla
@viequesbound
@estudiomartita

As the voice of NOLAFemmes on Twitter, I made many new friends and contacts during this time. If I can stay focused *cough* I want to highlight some of you in future posts here. Again, I need to backtrack to get everyone’s info but here are a few who stood out because they repeatedly showed us the NOLAFemmes luv:

The Moxie Bee
Estudio Martita

Bayou Girl

Metry Chick

Special thanks to The Moxie Bee and Metry Chick for posting our badge on their websites!

I wish I had kept notes during the 60 days of this project so I wouldn’t have left anyone out. But, duh, that’s me.
However, please know how much it means that each and every one of you read and supported this effort. It was our intention to spotlight NOLA neighborhoods in the five years post-federal flood and not only the homes and hoods still in disarray and disrepair but also the ones that have come back stronger than ever. I hope in our small way, we did that.

ROOTS RUN DEEP HERE

Rebirth Beyond Year 5: A Photographic Journey

A promise for the future of southeast Louisiana – amid decay and destruction, rebirth

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Photographed by maringouin

Read about our project depicting the state of New Orleans neighborhoods in the 5th year post-Katrina here

1 Day 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

My childhood home – upper 9th ward

After being born at Ochsner, I was brought back to this home. I lived here the first 8 years of my life, in the upper 9th ward. My parents were poor, their first home was in the Desire housing projects, then they moved here several years before I came along. We lived here until my parents were able to purchase their first home.

My dad parked his old Chevy in this garage. It was flooded out by Hurricane Betsy in 1965, but he was able to salvage it by drying out the gas tank and then drove it for a few more years until it rusted out. I learned how to ride a bicycle along this sidewalk.

We lived on the opposite side of the duplex, but the backyards were shared. I remember the neighbors, an older couple whose children were grown. The man used to fish all the time, and he was very gracious, sharing his catch with my mom. She would cook it all up, and would return the favor by bringing some back for their supper. I remember some of the fish he caught were full of roe, and my mom would fry the roe for my dad who was thrilled to have the golden yellow delicacy along with his fries and trout fillets.

The front porch seemed like it towered over the sidewalk, at least from a child’s perspective. The front porch edge was where the flood waters of Hurricane Betsy stopped. My dad remembers the water rushing down the street, and miraculously leveling off at the top of the porch before it inundated the house. We were lucky compared to the folks down in St. Bernard, where the water reached the eaves. My uncle walked from Gentilly to our home to check on us after Betsy passed, all the way in waist deep water. My grandmother had a mild heart attack the night Betsy howled over us, but she didn’t realize it until after the floodwaters receded and she was able to get back in touch with her doctor on St. Claude Avenue.

There were many fond memories sitting on the porch – eating homemade Zatarain’s root beer popsicles, and sorting through 3 leaf clovers searching for the elusive 4 leaf. It was a great neighborhood to grow up in: close to the extended family, close to school and St. Cecelia church. Mardi Gras parades used to pass down St. Claude Avenue, and my parents took us occasionally to the French Quarter to see the night parades and the flambeaux until French Quarter parades stopped in 1973. My mother took us often to the Alvar Street library and I took lessons and swam at NORD St. Claude Stallings playground.

I remember many times sliding down the concrete stoop, and sitting on the brick pedestal. There was an empty lot on the side of the home that we would play in, and where our birthday parties would congregate. The home was shotgun style and my brother and I would run back and forth for hours, playing with whatever struck our fancy that day out of the toy chest. The hall had a floor furnace, on which I tripped and fell while running, bearing the scar on my knee to this day. I remember the large kitchen in the back where everyone congregated around the table every night – red beans and rice on Monday, pork chops on Wednesday, fish on Fridays and roast beef on Sundays. My mother was a wonderful cook, and made delicious meals out of a very tight budget. I never knew how poor they were growing up, until I got older and realized all the sacrifices my parents made to give us a good life and a good education.

The front door had two beautiful side doors on either side, and in this picture, one of the side doors was ajar. I could peer inside and see that the home which had once been full of life, was sitting there forgotten.

It is heartbreaking to see this home abandoned and unloved. I suppose that the next step is demolition. A little bit of effort and money could save this place. I have pictures of the interior while growing up, and one can see how tidy and well kept the home used to be, with the gleaming wood floors and the colorful walls.

There are thousands upon thousands of stories like mine across the city. This is where the magnitude of Katrina hits – over a quarter of a million homes suffered this fate, and many of the inhabitants of these destroyed homes perished inside, fatalities of a man-made disaster. A catastrophe of this size must never happen again.

Photographed by maringouin

Read about our project depicting the state of New Orleans neighborhoods in the 5th year post-Katrina here

3 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

Ninth Ward

There are a couple tough ones here; one is not exactly the house marking, but it is one man’s marking to signify the loss of life at his house. And his house is no longer there either. Met him a couple times and talked with him; no sign of him now and wonder if he too is gone. Another image says dead dogs…saw so much of that. SO hard.

Ninth Ward

Tupelo Street, Ninth Ward

Photographed for NOLAFemmes by Laura Bergerol.

Read all about our photo journey to August 29, the 5 year anniversary of the failure of the federally built levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, here.

4 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

In the neighborhoods, the convenience of someone on the corner, cooking food in a restaurant or a take-out place is priceless. Many people that work 1 or 2 jobs have no time every single day to come home and prepare a meal for a family. The luxury of having someone else cook can mean an extra hour of sleep, an extra hour or two helping children with homework – the time savings are endless.

One wonders what happened to all these neighborhood food establishments, and the men and women who cooked in them. I hope that someone else, somewhere else is the lucky recipient of some good New Orleans home cooking cause many of them have gone missing here.

Photographed by maringouin

Read about our project depicting the state of New Orleans neighborhoods in the 5th year post-Katrina here

5 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

Marigny

Photographed for NOLAFemmes by Julia Pretus.

Read about our project depicting the state of New Orleans neighborhoods in the 5th year post-Katrina here

All photos can be seen in chronological order by clicking “Katrina Photo Project” in the header.

6 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

I saw a lot of homes tagged indicating that dead pets were found inside – or were being fed and watered, hence the F/W on many homes – however it was difficult to find one that had a number other than zero at the bottom of the X-mark. Any marking at that position on the X indicated a body was found inside, and there were many homes where more than one person perished.

Many people refused to leave because they could not get accommodations for their pets, and chose to stay at home. Besides, why leave for what turned out to be a Category 3 storm Winds were clocked at no more than 110-115 mph in the city? They never dreamed that the steadfast levees would break, flooding and trapping them and their beloved pets inside.

Someone told me that “officials” made extra efforts to make sure homes where a person/persons were found dead inside were demolished. That could possibly explain the reason for all of the empty lots in Lakeview and the Lower 9th ward…

Photographed by maringouin

Read about our project depicting the state of New Orleans neighborhoods in the 5th year post-Katrina here

7 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

Hollygrove

Photographed for NOLAFemmes by Geovanni Velasquez in the Hollygrove community of New Orleans.

Read about our journey to the 5th anniversary of the failure of the federally built levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina here.

All photos can be seen in chronological order by clicking “Katrina Photo Project” in the header.

8 Days 2 Year 5: A Photographic Journey

Hollygrove

Photographed for NOLAFemmes by Geovanni Velasquez in the Hollygrove community of New Orleans.

Read about our journey to the 5th anniversary of the failure of the federally built levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina here.

All photos can be seen in chronological order by clicking “Katrina Photo Project” in the header.