Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Life Goes On! (New Orleans, LA)

(9th Ward, 6 Months after Hurricane Katrina (2006), (C) Tiner).

(9th Ward, 6 Months after Hurricane Katrina (2006), (C) Tiner).

(9th Ward, 6 Months after Hurricane Katrina (2006), (C) Tiner).

(9th Ward, 6 Months after Hurricane Katrina (2006), (C) Tiner).

(Tulane University, Re-Opening (2006)).

(Enjoying Life with Sasha, a Miss Teen Mississippi Candidate, and her friend Jamie (2006)).

(Hurricane Katrina inspired Mixed Media (2006), (C) Tiner).

From Laguna Beach, CA to Providence, RI, I spent a week before my final semester at Brown University driving cross-country. In January 2006, I drove along Route 10 and stopped in New Orleans, LA to support the people and help revitalize the economy with my tourism.

One afternoon, I ventured out alone to the 9th Ward to see the damage. It was a really intense and humbling experience. From a first-hand perspective, I saw the wreckage from the hurricane and looters. I saw people attempting to salvage remaining possessions from their houses. I also saw hired security men attempting to remove some of these people from their condemned homes.

It was a sad reflection of America's current condition. Here I was 6 months, post-Katrina and a huge portion of the cleanup had not even happened. Our country had over extended itself and neglected the core of the American people. Americans were fighting to protect our nation in international countries, yet thousands of Americans were stranded without even the basics of running water and permanent shelter. While friends back home were enjoying the waves of the California coastline, New Orleans residents were really struggling with their wave of destruction.

...I'm glad that countless volunteers traveled to this region to help restore the condition of New Orleans and Mississippi.

...And as the cliché holds true goes on. Although, I saw countless destruction, I also saw hope. I spent an afternoon at Tulane University welcoming back the students who were displaced from the damage and also playing "tourist" with Sasha Williamson, a Miss Teen Mississippi candidate, and her friend Jamie. Despite the mountain of grief in the area, it was refreshing to see the hope in the city.

Two years latter, I'm glad that the city is moving forward and is returning to full health.

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