After Katrina: Rebuilding And Renewal In New Orleans

I’ve been meaning to get pictures of our trip to New Orleans up for ages, and just haven’t found the right moment to write about them.  Until now.

Seems a fitting tribute to the resilience and strength of the human spirit that we saw from so many in NOLA to post some pictures of how beautiful areas are, and how far things have come for so many who have been working to rebuild in the aftermath of Katrina.

But don’t let these pictures fool you, there is still a lot of work to be done.

As you’ll see in the video, there is a desperate need for health care and mental health services still in New Orleans. 

I was fortunate to meet Dr. Janet Johnson, who helped found Project Rising Sun, at reader Lindy’s house while we were there.  It’s an amazing community effort to help folks rebuild their inner lives while working to rebuild their own communities as well. One of their efforts has been to work on community garden projects along with the drumming circles featured in the CNN report above, and many, many other efforts as well.

This is just the sort of stepping up within our own communities that makes such a huge difference, one person at a time. New Orleans is fortunate to have them.

We didn’t get out to the Lower 9th Ward or any of the parishes that are still so devastated from the storm while we were there.  It was a desperately needed vacation and we could only do so much in a single trip. 

But, as you’ll see, New Orleans certainly has the power to pull us back for another trip.  We loved it, and I hope you enjoy this stroll in pictures through some beautiful spots all over town.  And, if you are considering a trip at some point, New Orleans is a great place to spend some vacation moolah — I’m just sayin’…

Here’s a picture of Lindy and I at the Cafe du Monde. Lindy’s going to kill me for putting this up, but we had such a wonderful chat that I wanted you to see how much fun we were having.


Christy and Lindy at Cafe du Monde. Photo by Mr. ReddHedd.

Beautiful walled courtyard garden in the French Quarter, taken peeking through the wrought iron:


Courtyard garden, French Quarter. Photo by CHS.

We did a walking tour on our own one day in the Garden District, just Mr. ReddHedd and I walking around and soaking in the homes and gardens. It was hot as hell, but breathtaking. We stumbled across a gorgeous home with beautiful diamond-paned windows in a solarium:


Garden District home with gorgeous solarium windows. Photo by CHS.

This is a stone monument outside the home in which Jefferson Davis died. Had to get a picture of this for you all — it cracked me up. Especially because a British tourist couple who were walking along ahead of us were mystified by it:


Photo by CHS.

Another beautiful courtyard garden we found down a tiny side street in the French Quarter, on the way to have some fabulous cafe au lait at a little cafe with some gorgeous stained glass artwork in it (wish I could remember the name of this place — it was lovely and had wonderful pastries):


Photo by CHS.

So many gorgeous balcony gardens in and around the French Quarter. I took this shot on the way to get a muffaletta at Central Grocery — biggest Sandwich I have ever seen, and very tasty. We sat on the embankment levee overlooking the river and ate in the sunshine. It was heaven:


Balcony garden in the French Quarter.

This bluejay came over to perch atop a statue while we were sitting in the shade in Jackson Square after a breakfast at Cafe du Monde. He thought we had snacks to share, but he was sadly mistaken. Couldn’t resist taking a snapshot:


Photo by CHS.

The cathedral in Jackson Square towers over everything. We managed to catch it on a day when there was no cloud in the sky — or at least, it sure felt that way. It was gorgeous:


Photo by CHS.

33 Responses to "After Katrina: Rebuilding And Renewal In New Orleans"
Christy Hardin Smith | Saturday August 29, 2009 07:52 am 1

So glad I finally got a chance to get these up to share with everyone. Lindy, don’t kill me for putting up our picture — I know you hate getting yours taken as much as I do, but I couldn’t help myself. *g*

diablesseblu | Saturday August 29, 2009 08:20 am 2

These are wonderful Christy. Thanks so much for posting them. Am so thrilled you and Mr. RH had this time/trip together.

Lindy | Saturday August 29, 2009 08:51 am 3

You’re right. You’re dead meat. LOL! But you have to come here so I can do it.

RevBev | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:40 am 4

Thank you. I had really wanted to hear more about your trip. The pictures are beautiful and so perfect for this day.

solai | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:44 am 5

I have been saying forever that I want to go to NOLA. Still not seeming feasible but these photos are reigniting the desire.

perris | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:46 am 6

seems like the right time to mention this too;

during the Obama eulogy he spoke about how Ted contacted each of the fallen families and then stayed in touch, righting letters and doing what he could for them

the camera went to bush’s face and I swear I thought I saw the man embarrassed for himself

ShotoJamf | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:52 am 7

Great shots, Christy. Thanks.

Now I wants me some tasty jambalaya. mmmmmm…..

ShotoJamf | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:54 am 8
In response to perris @ 6

Given the damage done with Bush at the helm for eight long years, I would tend to question whether he is even capable of embarrassment.

SanderO | Saturday August 29, 2009 11:57 am 9

But we have hundreds of billions to pour into the DOD and our wars. What a disgrace. Bad enough that the immediate response was disgusting, but years on we really done so very little to help the people whose lives were destroyed.

As a nation we excel at death and destruction.

SanderO | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:01 pm 10
In response to ShotoJamf @ 8

Bush looked like he know he was a complete ass and it was painful to be around so many people who knows he an a88hole.

He was visibly uncomfortable because he knows he was a tool and a fool and not 1/100,000 of the man that TK was. He’s not good enough to polish TK’s boots.

It’s great that this prick has to suffer this sort of humiliation and be forced to be around real men and women of grace and stature. He’s a sniveling piece of excrement and he knows it when he has to sit there for an hour and listen to such a memorial.

eCAHNomics | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:03 pm 11
In response to SanderO @ 10

His father didn’t even have the grace to show up.

solai | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:04 pm 12
In response to ShotoJamf @ 8

Remember that the man didn’t even fucking know what was going on in New Orleans after Katrina hit. Didn’t even know! How is that even possible? Half the country was glued to their tv sets and our president was freeking oblivious as he strummed guitars and ate birthday cake. Makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Theresa.
Given that, I think Bush just doesn’t watch the news, doesn’t know how reviled he is, doesn’t realize that he will be scorned for generations and may very well be blamed for the demise of the U.S. And, I think the moron has convinced himself that someday he will be vindicated.

ThingsComeUndone | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:04 pm 13

Things that will not be mentioned in the Bush library

Fixing New Orleans will be at the top of the list

solai | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:06 pm 14
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

I’m wondering if he’s ill.

ThingsComeUndone | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:09 pm 15

Or will the Bush library flat out lie about what a great job they did in New Orleans.
I think an FDL field trip to the Bush library when it opens might be in order.

I’ve always wanted to read that Goat Book Bush was reading on 9/11
That and I want to see the boots Condi was buying when Katrina hit. Her VP chances her ability to bring in African American voters to the GOP disappeared that day.
As did all the expected sales for her biography.

RevBev | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:09 pm 16
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

To be fair….it was announced his absence about health reasons.

I had a fleeting thought that maybe w’s painful discomfort could be enough to get him to spill the beans. Because he is so out of it, he knows he is getting blamed for things he likely missed…..not all, I know.

eCAHNomics | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:11 pm 17
In response to RevBev @ 16

Yeah, the same bad health that allowed him to jump out of an airplane on his 85th birthday.

SanderO | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:15 pm 18
In response to RevBev @ 16

Spill the beans as in whose behind the curtain pulling the strings? He thought being their front man would be a hoot and he hardly even had to be able to read.

Do you remember his speeches and press conferences?

The man was an alchy whose brain was mush. he may not even know who ran the show, he just knew his advisers told him what to say.

ThingsComeUndone | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:15 pm 19
In response to RevBev @ 16

Bush was out of it distracted or just uncomfortable being around the kind of crowd of Americans who never would have gotten past his prescreened for loyalty crowd of fans when he talked to town halls as President?
We are still having Town Halls despite the GOP being everything Bush feared. The contrast between Presidents is funny.
GOPers with guns outside a Bush speech would be in jail faster than the Press could run to get an interview.

SanderO | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:17 pm 20

The truth? This nation can’t face the truth.

If they could they would demand the 911 truth whatever that may be. It’s certainly not 19 slackers with a mission and some box cutters. That story is so laughable.

But they have managed to sell it and no one will even question it now, lest they are branded as a nut case conspiracy whacko.

They pulled off that in plain site and people bought the show hook line and sinker.

Nola Sue | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:20 pm 21

Christy — you’ve beatifully captured my hometown. We were there this summer, too, and it re-steals my heart every time. Even more poignantly now, knowing how much devastation still exists, how many lives have been deeply affected, and yet how much courage has been shown by individuals — to survive, re-build and give.

Let me chime in to encourage others to visit! Because we go to see family, we stay Uptown (near the Garden District), right on St. Charles Ave. Easy to explore the beautiful older residential areas, shopping & dining districts. Still close to downtown and the Quarter. And that looked better than I’ve seen in a while, too!


ThingsComeUndone | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:21 pm 22
In response to SanderO @ 18

The man was an alchy whose brain was mush. he may not even know who ran the show, he just knew his advisers told him what to say.

And he still messed up his lines Churchill was an alky and Bush was no Churchill!:)

ThingsComeUndone | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:22 pm 23

Any chance Koz might hold Netroots Nation there?

solai | Saturday August 29, 2009 12:28 pm 24

You want to know how deep my hatred is for Bush? I’m looking at hotels in NOLA and there’s one named “W” . Yuk. Staying there would ruin the experience.

Millineryman | Saturday August 29, 2009 01:06 pm 25

I just love balcony gardens. I guess it’s what my mind’s eye sees when I think about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Thanks for the photos, I certainly enjoyed them.

Thanks for sharing about Project Rising Sun, it’s indeed a example of people doing the right thing.

tinman1967 | Saturday August 29, 2009 01:42 pm 26

With all due respect why do people choose to live ten or fifteen feet below sea level?

dakine01 | Saturday August 29, 2009 02:02 pm 27

Book Salon up at the Mothership with Les Leopold’s The Looting of America hosted by Cynthia Kouril

AirportCat | Saturday August 29, 2009 02:49 pm 28
In response to tinman1967 @ 26

I lived in NOLA (actually on the West Bank) for about 9 years, and most of the people who were born and raised there would never want to live anywhere else … for them, it is home and there really is nowhere else quite like it. Not as much of the city is below sea level as you might think. The French Quarter is relatively high ground — above sea level — which is why it did not flood. My house on the West Bank was a foot below sea level, but those areas did not flood either because they were west of the eye when the storm made landfall (so the winds were primarily blowing offshore, unlike east of the eye where the wind was piling the water onto the land) and the river levees provided quite a bit of protection. And of course, many of the areas that did flood would not have done so had the levees held.

AirportCat | Saturday August 29, 2009 02:50 pm 29
In response to ThingsComeUndone @ 15

Let me know when you make that trip … I’m in the area now.

The Bush Library will not be complete without a copy of “My Pet Goat”.

tinman1967 | Saturday August 29, 2009 03:41 pm 30
In response to AirportCat @ 28

Thank you.

b4real | Saturday August 29, 2009 06:52 pm 31

Did the lights go out when you left?

MsAnnaNOLA | Monday August 31, 2009 05:36 pm 32
In response to solai @ 12

Something came out that he did know. Bush knew before LA gov Blanco supposedly. This is from the LSU professor Dr. Ivor Van Herdeen that was fired for speaking out about inconvenient facts about the man-made disaster that happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Blog Post from Greg Palast on the second anniversary of Katrina:

Link to the book by the professor:


Excerpt from Greg Palast Blog post above:

“By midnight on Monday, the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breeched. Nobody.”

The charge is devastating: That, on August 29, 2005, the White House withheld from the state police the information that New Orleans was about to flood. From almost any other source, I would not have believed it. But this was not just any source. The whistle-blower is Dr. Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, the chief technician advising the state on saving lives during Katrina.

I’d come to van Heerden about another matter, but in our talks, it was clear he had something he wanted to say, and it was a big one. He charged that the White House, FEMA and the Army Corp hid, for critical hours, their discovery that the levees surrounding New Orleans were cracking, about to burst and drown the city.

Understand that Katrina never hit New Orleans. The hurricane swung east of the city, so the state evacuation directors assumed New Orleans was now safe – and evacuation could slow while emergency efforts moved east with the storm.

But unknown to the state, in those crucial hours on Monday, the federal government’s helicopters had filmed the cracks that would become walls of death by Tuesday.

Van Heerden revealed:

“FEMA knew at 11 o’clock on Monday that the levees had breeched. At 2 p.m. they flew over the 17th Street Canal and took video of the breech.”

Question: “So the White House wouldn’t tell you the levees had breeched?”

Dr. Van Heerden: “They didn’t tell anybody.”

Question: “And you’re at the Emergency Center.’

Dr. Van Heerden: “I mean nobody knew. The Corps of Engineers knew. FEMA knew. None of us knew.”

I could not get the White House gang to respond to the charges.

PS. Thanks for the pics Christy!

MsAnnaNOLA | Monday August 31, 2009 06:09 pm 33
In response to tinman1967 @ 26

Why do people in California live on an earthquake fault? Why would people live on the coast of Florida, Alabama, Hawaii or any state with a coast.

New Orleans is a strategic port for one. The oil that we produce in South LA has to be produced by people who work in the refineries and oil rigs. The seafood that we send to the rest of the country has to be harvested by someone. People have lived here for a very long time and they will probably continue to do so. There is important work to be done here.

The damage that has been done to our state by the oil producers and the Army Corps of Engineers is immesurable. We would be a lot more secure from hurricanes without the Army Corps of Engineers and the oil companies ruining our marshes that protect us from hurricanes naturally.

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