I went to Lakeview today. I drove around for 2 hours checking out this upper middle class area of NOLA. I spent time taking photos but also looking for the Congressional delegation which was to tour the area today. I found the place they were to tour which was right by the 17th Street Canal levee at which a major break occurred during Katrina.
I was there almost 2 hours before the Congress folks were scheduled to arrive and I found a cleaning crew getting an area ready for their tour.
There were also a few residents there who were planning to protest for Category 5 levees. They told me they’d not seen a crew there ever before. (I didn’t see any such clean up crews as I toured Lakeview) Resident Jimmy Burns told me he asked them why they were cleaning and was told by the crew foreman that “we want to show we’re getting something done.” I was told Congress was scheduled to arrive at 4:00 and the crew finished their work a little bit after 3:00 and left. I did talk to one member of the crew before they left who said they were “under the Army Corp of Engineers by Phillips and Gordon” (ie contractors)
The residents were angry to say the least. They felt Congress was getting a cleaned up sanitized view that does not represent what they live with each day. I will say this. I got out and walked around quite a bit in Lakeview. You have to watch your step as there is glass, nails, metal and cables. In fact at one point I tripped over a large sheared off power line. While driving I thankfully saw and avoided a 2×4 with nails protruding out. So there is a safety issue. However the residents say they deal with that everyday. Nothing is cleaned up for them. As one said “Let them get in the dirt like we have to.”
To illustrate here is a photo that’s typical of what I saw in Lakeview (and there’s much worse)……
Here’s the Lakeview for Congress to walk about in….
So the residents were angry as it was, over the levees and the special cleanup, but to make matters worse…..Congress never showed. I was told by a WWLTV cameraman they had just gotten to the Lower 9th ward at about 4:30. So the TV crews hung out a while then left. The residents stayed longer but one by one left as they realized the Congress folks would never get to Lakeview before dark.
In the end a few people got their property cleaned….half a dozen down, Thousands and thousands more to go. Perhaps the “plan” for New Orleans ought to be to have Congress “plan” a tour of every home in NOLA. Maybe then job would get done.
UPDATE: Today’s Times Picayune reports that the Congress folks did make it to Lakeview late yesterday in the end and drove down the street at which I had been. They never got off the bus……
“Of course, they all come by but they don’t stop,” she said. “I wish they would have stopped. I would have told them that we were not supposed to flood.”
Some of the lawmakers peered out bus windows at a man holding a sign in the air along the street criticizing the Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the levees. “Get out (of the bus), why don’t you,” the man shouted as the bus rolled past.
Video of cleaning up for Congress….