New Orleans, LA

26 June 2006

Today we met our nephew, Adam Hess, who is working on his Masters at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Adam took us to the Lower 9th Ward, scene of some of the worst destruction from Hurricane Katrina. He told us that the area was cleaned up a bit since his last visit to the area. Much of the debris that was in the streets has been moved off so that traffic could flow. A number of the houses have been demolished and all that is left are concrete supports and the occasional front stoop. The area we visited was only a few blocks from one of the levee breaks and the impact of the rushing water is amazing. Houses were moved off their foundations or ripped apart. The few that survived somewhat intact had almost everything inside them destroyed. The water marks on the sides of the buildings or inside them indicates that the standing water was at least five feet deep.

This is the last full day of the American Library Association Convention and Susie attended a Town Hall meeting on school libraries with Laura Bush as the keynote speaker. Tomorrow we drive 130 miles round trip to attend a breakfast honoring authors who won the Coretta Scott King Award, including our friend, Tonya Bolden. After breakfast we will head out to Lafayette and the real beginning of our trip.

Laura Bush addressing the Town Hall Meeting
We have been Googled

Lower 9th Ward

Front stoops and building supports are all that is left of some of the homes in the area
Markings indicating this house was searched on September 13th
This was the dining room of the house on the left
No one lives here any more
Boat washed up on a roof
House on the left was moved off its foundation into its neighbor
The house on the right in the picture, left, remained fairly intact but its furnishings were destroyed by the water.
High water mark is at about five feet and the house was elevated off the ground by more than a foot
Remnants of life in the Lower 9th Ward