then/now

Aug. 26th, 2006 12:39 pm
coldbeansoup: (soup)
Lafcadio Hearn, New Orleanian and author, writing to a friend in
Cincinnati in 1870:

Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been
buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so
that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so
bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will
believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in
sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole state of Ohio.


Bill Quigley, August 2006:
Trying to Make It Home: New Orleans One Year After Katrina

Bernice Mosely is 82 and lives alone in New Orleans in
a shotgun double. On August 29, 2005, as Katrina hit
the Gulf Coast, the levees constructed by the U.S.
Corps of Engineers failed in five places and New
Orleans filled with water.

One year ago Ms. Mosely was on the second floor of her
neighborhood church. Days later, she was helicoptered
out. She was so dehydrated she spent eight days in a
hospital. Her next door neighbor, 89 years old,
stayed behind to care for his dog. He drowned in the
eight feet of floodwaters that covered their
neighborhood.

Ms. Mosely now lives in her half-gutted house. She
has no stove, no refrigerator, and no
air-conditioning. The bottom half of her walls have
been stripped of sheetrock and are bare wooden slats
from the floor halfway up the wall. Her food is
stored in a styrofoam cooler. Two small fans push the
hot air around.

Two plaster Madonnas are in her tiny well-kept front
yard. On a blazing hot summer day, Ms. Mosely used
her crutches to gingerly come down off her porch to
open the padlock on her fence. She has had hip and
knee replacement surgery. Ms. Mosely worked in a New
Orleans factory for over thirty years sewing uniforms.
When she retired she was making less than $4 an
hour. "Retirement benefits?" she laughs. She lives
off social security. Her house had never flooded
before. Because of her tight budget tight, Ms. Mosely
did not have flood insurance.

Thousands of people like Ms. Mosely are back in their
houses on the Gulf Coast. They are living in houses
that most people would consider, at best, still under
construction, or, at worst, uninhabitable. Like Ms.
Mosely, they are trying to make their damaged houses
into homes.

bill's piece is long but well worth your time )

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