St. Bernard Parish–One Year Later

If I’d driven through St. Bernard Parish before Katrina I’d probably have yawned because it was so typically average American. But to see it now leaves one angered and mystified that this is happening in America.

I think St. Bernard Parish unfortunately is often overlooked in the Post Katrina narrative. Most are aware of the Lower 9th Ward yet many other areas in and around New Orleans were devastated. Lives, homes, businesses, neighborhoods and whole communities were lost directly affecting people of all races and incomes. All their stories of survival and the struggle to reclaim their lives deserve telling.

I admit to having a soft spot for St. Bernard Parish and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps because it is was so quintessentially American and now, since often forgotten, it is also a story of a classic American underdog. Do forgive me for invoking the one movie guaranteed to make men cry but I feel like the Gayle Sayers character in “Brian Song” who says…”I loveBrian Piccolo St. Bernard Parish. And I’d like all of you to lovehim them too.

Or perhaps it is because I hate incomplete stories. If we are to have an understanding of the complete picture of Katrina and the federal flood we must remember places like Chalmette, Arabi, St. Bernard, Lakeview, New Orleans East, Gentilly and on and on.

This has been a tragedy of unbelievable proportion. Telling the story of St. Bernard Parish is one way to make people aware of that and the fact that it is not over. I do hope you’ll watch this video taken August 30, 2006 of scenes from the Parish, much of which is truly a ghost town. I also narrate to tell you the before and after of the people of St. Bernard Parish.

Video and Narration: scout (again shot while driving a shift)

Music: Adagio for Strings, Op. 11…NY Philharmonic

Length: 4:40

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. —Thomas Jefferson