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Ninth Ward Tour

June 15, 2010
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By: Ted Schuster

Today, the NOLA group took a tour of the Lower 9th Ward.  Our tour guide started off by telling us his evacuation story, which sounded very intense.  Stories like his are very common, and the NOLA group has already heard many of them, some similar and some very different.  Once the tour began, we observed dozens of trucks driving around with landscaping equipment in a trailer.  The reason for this is that the city mandates that even if a resident is displaced, if they maintain ownership of their property, they are responsible for making sure it is maintained.  The city charges more than the independent businessmen, so it’s up to the property owner to make sure their property looks nice no matter where they are.

Our tour guide took us to a house that was still largely the way it was left after Katrina.  This house had very heavy flood damage, and all of the owner’s possessions were still inside the house.  It is very common to see an abandoned house right next door to a rebuilt house with a family inside.

We also visited the blocks of the neighborhood being rehabbed by Brad Pitt’s “Make it Right” Foundation.  (link www.makeitright.org) is the “Largest Congregation of Smart-Design homes created by award-winning architects working on the same project”.  The houses emphasize green technology including solar panels, and employ the most cutting edge flood prevention technology.

Photo: Ted Schuster

Overall, it was an interesting way to start off the program, and we got an in-depth look at the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood where the NOLA group will be spending the majority of our time.

Photo: Ted Schuster

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