Katrina and Rita

We are all in shock from the devastation we saw during our tour of New Orleans with a local fireman. 8 months later to have so much damage and wreckage strewn about has to be put in perspective. 250,000 homes (all of Christchurch) are unliveable so 60% of the population has been relocated and many have nothing to come back to.

Also as the poorer areas were hardest hit they are the ones without the means to rebuild and were the group most likely to be un or under-insured. A comment from one of the un damaged residents of “God was on our side” seemed heartless and reeked of the social discrimination that we found rife.
The beautiful French quarter and the more affluent up-town areas were only subject to a bit of wind damage and minimal water but have both still suffered hugely due to the loss of population and tourism.

The famous street cars lost their new fleet and now were on a reduced service. I spent a great afternoon with a tram driver talking trams and trolley buses, but it eventually all came back to family and grandchildren. It seems to be those at the coal face of society that give you the true feeling for a city. All the dollars that were given for the residents has still to be allocated, ill feeling of the have-nots seem justified and the feeling that the city doesn’t want their poorer people back was common. Time will tell.

Then around the coastal area of the Gulf of Mexico to see the damage that Rita did not long after. Whole coastal populations gone, but these were mainly holiday houses so not quite the impact on the community. The houses being repaired or replaced are being put up on poles up to 10 meters high.

PS the road kill is now alligators and snakes and a new thing that is as yet unidentified.

Also they are looking at raising the speed limit in Texas to 80 MPH (140+ kph).

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