Thursday, February 09, 2006

Feb 9, 2006

Last Saturday I took at trip to Plaquemines Parish. From Baton Rouge it’s about a 2.5-hour drive. This parish is at the southern tip of NOLA. The eye of Katrina passed over this sliver of Louisiana and the destruction in this rural community is painfully evident. It seems that nothing has been left standing in tact. There was great wind damage here. Thousands of trees were either uprooted and made into kindling or stripped bare of its leaves and branches. Hundreds of houses and businesses were simply blown away by the violent wind. The storm surge flooded most of the inlet. So whatever the wind didn’t get the water did. There is no electricity, water, or sewage service. The people who live in Plaquemines Parish are farmers, ranchers and fisherman and many of them are reluctant to abandon the land and water that has provided their lively hood for generations. Some live in trailers with limited services. Their resolve has lead them to clean up what they can and ask for simple things like the Coast Guard righting their fishing vessels that were tossed like toy ships during the storm. It’s a hard life. Living in these conditions requires a mental and physical character that few possess. But the people of Plaquemines Parish seem determined to get back on their feet.

When I left the parish and drove back towards Baton Rouge Tommy called me and told me he might be leaving for Kuwait sooner than expected. I drove most of the way in silence. I was overwhelmed. As the sun set over the water I thought about the people I met that day, simply caring on with their lives, and tried to muster a little Plaquemines Parish spirit. Tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous julie t. said...

I produced a show that took place in Plaquemines Parish--- from New Orleans, you keep driving and driving and driving until you hit a narrow strip of land, the end of the Missippi, the end of the world.

I have since wondered what happened to all the people we interviewed for that show-- if they survived Katrina or not. Looking at this photos made me wonder all over again.

I remember how difficult it was to get family photos from those folks-- not because they were reluctant to give them, but because they didn't have them. Everything had been damaged in the 'other' hurricane--was that Camille? That struck me as so sad...

1:42 AM  

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