Nine months later

reclining camel in new orleans zoo

Though I photographed this Audubon Park Zoo camel in New Orleans in the early to mid-nineties (on film), he or she might still be with us since camels live 30-40 years. Katrina, while disastrous to most of the city did not unleash her full fury on the zoo, so survival through that catastrophe shouldn’t have been a problem. It was if he or she was waiting on me. After a roll or so of film, I said thank you and bade farewell.

After Katrina failed in her best efforts to completely destroy New Orleans in August of 2005, my road-trip buds, Dick Warriner, the late Dick DeWoody, and I mused that the excuse for our annual trip to the Crescent City, the annual French Quarter Fest, might be in danger. We began to entertain suggestions for other road-trip destinations, but none had the panache of “Nawlins.”

man eating sandwich at french quarter fest

Click on Mr. Sandwich Eater to see more festival and post-Katrina pix

Despite the Katrina’s failure to administer the coup de grâce to New Orleans, the damage, as most will recall, was more than substantial.

Even at that level, the scurrilous storm did not cashier the festival. Late in 2005, we received notification that the festival was on. At this point we suggest that you can see other festival and lower Ninth Ward pictures where this story started, on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Take a good look and we will wait here while you peruse images and verbiage.

woman with dog at french quarter fest concert

Pretty girls with dogs are as ubiquitous as bands at outdoor concerts, and the 2005 French Quarter Fest was no different. Something caught the dog’s attention which set up a good photo op. Blind hog finds acorn again.

The lower Ninth Ward

We attended the festival April 21 and 22, 2005. Other than damage to trees and a few closed shops in the French Quarter, we did not see much evidence of the evil sister’s visit. However, even as the party went on in the Quarter, life in the lower Ninth Ward, the area that caught the worst of Katrina’s flooding, fell way short of comfortable. Call it morbid curiosity or whatever you’d like, the first leg of our return trip was one of observation, through the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

I shot the following pictures on that trip, nine months after Katrina made her fateful visit to south Louisiana. This is the first time these images have been made available for public viewing.

Katrina storm damage in lower ninth ward

Look closely for a man entering the house.

house with help sign on top

The residents here made sure the Coast Guard helicopter crews knew what was needed.

houses in New Orleans lower ninth ward

These homes have been “inspected.” Note the cryptic spray paint code on next to the door.

Camper trailer setup in New Orleans lower ninth ward

There were a number of camper trailers set up in residential yards.

abandoned suv in new orleans lower ninth ward

Just around the corner from the camper this abandoned suffers callous neglect.

While to some, considering the reveling of the festival and the misery of the lower Ninth Ward in the same article may seem calloused, the truth is, the city needed all of the merry-making it could handle to pump good Yankee dollars into the seriously injured Crescent City economy. The condition was and still is called reality.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


2 Responses

  1. […] Nine months later ( […]

  2. […] the lower ninth ward which took the worst licks from Katrina. It was not pretty, but it is reality. Take a look at our April 2006 trip to see what we saw. Also be sure to check out our Corndancer Photo of the Week page for that trip […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: