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Tim Rahto | profile | all galleries >> Post Katrina New Orleans - The Lower 9th Ward, May 2006 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Post Katrina New Orleans - The Lower 9th Ward, May 2006

It wasnít until I came into New Orleans from the East on I-10 that I really got a feel for just how bad the city had been hit. Sure I saw all the pictures on TV, and watched hour after hour of hurricane coverage on the news, but it wasnít until I drove into the city at night that I got a feel for just what had happened. At first, everything seems normal. Sure the trees have been twisted and uprooted, and thereís some signs that have been blown out, but the vast majority of things look pretty normal. Thereís plenty of houses left standing, as well as strip malls, apartment buildings, hotelsÖ all in all, it looks like any other city from an interstate. Then I realized there wasnít a light on in any of these buildings. In fact, I didnít see any sign of life whatsoever for as far as I could see. The entire east side of new Orleans had been abandoned, leaving behind a faÁade of civilization. All in all, it reminded me of an area attacked by a neutron bomb.

What I didnít realize was that the worst was yet to come.

These pictures were taken in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans, an area of town where the levees suffered a catastrophic failure. A wall of water cut a swath the size of several football fields through the neighborhood, leaving an empty field where houses once stood. Houses and cars were tossed about like toys, coming to rest wherever the water took them.

Remember that these pictures werenít taken in Beirut or Baghdad, but in a major American metropolitan area almost nine months after the hurricane rolled through. I donít see how this area will ever be the same again.
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