Local woman takes part in New Orleans rebuilding efforts

NORWICH – For the second year, Chenango Memorial’s Linda Lewis-Moors and 11 of her (Newcomb College of ) Tulane University classmates journeyed back to the home of their alma mater, New Orleans, Louisiana, to help rebuild the city, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

For a week just after Thanksgiving, they worked at Habitat for Humanity’s Musicians’ Village in the upper ninth ward, where musicians and others are finding new homes and developing their construction skills.

Linda and her friends report that New Orleans’ downtown and the French Quarter are looking good, and with the St. Charles streetcar running again (although the route is still not back to normal), the residential areas of the part of the city closest to downtown look about the same as pre-Katrina. However, there are still many pockets of the city that look as devastated as they did immediately after the flood waters receded.

Linda explained, “Anyone going to New Orleans for a vacation or for a conference would not know that there are still lasting effects of Katrina. The city’s hot spots look like “the city that care forgot,” as in former times. In fact, the city seems cleaner and neater than before, and I was told that there are 16 more restaurants open in New Orleans now than there were pre-Katrina. The heartbreak comes when you go to the areas where we were working. Many blocks are still filled with abandoned houses, some of which have families living in FEMA trailers in the driveways and others with no visible signs of life. They are the neighborhoods where people are still waiting for the government and insurance companies to help them rebuild/repair. There are still volunteer work crews going out every day to gut houses flooded by Katrina, and so there are still piles of family possessions next to curbs in residential neighborhoods.”

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