It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina blew through Louisana and the surrounding region. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is quoted as saying “Katrina is, the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.” The total damage for Katrina is estimated at $108 billion. This makes it the “costliest hurricane in U.S. history.”
I remember watching the horrors on TV while they were unfolding. New Orleans was always a place I had on my bucket list and in a flash I thought I would never get to see it in the way I wanted to. And then I did.
I have written about this trip before. In fact, it was waiting at the airport to go that I made a decision to start my blog when I got back. This would make it six years that I have been sharing my stories with you.
I remember being on the shuttle from the airport to the hotel and driving past the Louisana Superdome. It is a larger than life stadium structure that would bring pride to everyone that every watched an event there. For me, just looking at it gave me a bit of a chill. If you watched or remember any part of the Katrina coverage from that time, you know that the Superdome was where thousands went to ride out the storm and thought they would be safe, which turned out to be nothing but a safe haven. Thankfully Mercedes-Benz spent $336 million dollars and rebuilt the dome. It is once again a venue to be proud of.
I loved my time in New Orleans, or NOLA as it is loving called. I actually think it was that trip that I really started to become a “foodie”. I tried something new every day and nothing I tried disappointed me. Combine good food, art and antiques, great sights and of course sounds, the music of NOLA can’t be beat. It also helps to be with a great travelling companion who really enjoys to get the most out of each destination.
While we were there we took a city tour. It would have been nice to take a “pre Katrina” city tour, where the tour would not have gone into the ninth ward and made the tragedy a tourist stop on a tour. I know, I know… I also went to Ground Zero before it was a beautiful memorial, so I am not saying people don’t want to go and see the sights of tragic events. I understand the need to want to put some ‘reality’ to something we have only seen on a small screen.
Our tour bus took us over the bridge as we drove into the worst hit area of Katrina, where the levee broke and had the most destruction. As we drove into the neighbourhood, the tour bus driver was explaining what we were seeing. It was pretty clear. Destruction, even five years later. Street upon street of abandoned homes. outside of some of them, there were people working on repairs. Repairing their homes, repairing their lives. But many of them were just abandoned, and the residents never returned. For some, there wasn’t a home to return to.
If you haven’t been to New Orleans, you really need to add it to your list of places to see. You will not be disappointed.