We are in Saint Bernard State Park, about 18 miles southeast from New Orleans. Apparently, after Hurricane Katrina, this area was about 10 feet under water. There are still buildings that are either boarded up, falling down or have "NO BULLDOZE" signs posted on them. We drove past a Winn Dixie, K-Mart and Sears that were all closed down and falling apart. When we went to a local restaurant, the waitress (a sweet 23 year old Louisiana native) said that after the hurricane, most of the homes were destroyed and people moved away...leaving the big super chains to close down. It is very surreal and extremely sad.
BUT, there is new growth! We have seen many new homes already built and some being built. The local school looks at though it is getting a much needed face lift, and among the piles of stranded boats, cars and other miscellaneous items, you can see organization taking place.
I wasn't prepared for seeing this so many years after Katrina, and in light of the oil spill, I had my mind set on being shocked and saddened by that, not by all of this. It really drives home how fragile our surroundings, environment and lives really are. The people here, the ones that toughed it out, seem very appreciative to have visitors/tourists visit their little area and are very resilient. I'm sure they will bounce back and this place...a charming village that runs along the Mississippi River, will once again be full of life!
Tomorrow we head into New Orleans for brunch and to walk around...I can't wait. Honestly, we aren't sure if we will make it down to the Gulf or not. We have cut our trip here short by one day to make time to visit Austin, Texas. I guess we will wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Wishing everyone a very blessed, safe and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! God Bless America! We love you all!