For the Good of the Gulf: UNC Law Winter/Spring Break Pro Bono Project

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Destruction and Rebirth

Greetings from New Orleans! First off, I wanted to thank everyone for supporting our trip. We've had some great experiences so far and are looking forward to finishing the week out strong.

Almost from the start of the trip we've been amazed and saddened by all the destruction around New Orleans. On our ride in to the city, almost every single house along Highway 10 seemed to be damaged in one way or the other. The landscape was littered with piles of trash and debris.

But as bad as this was, the damage we saw on the way in to New Orleans really paled in comparison to the damage we saw on our tour of the 9th ward. Whole sections of the ward were gone, the sole remnants of many houses just the concrete porch steps leading up to nowhere. Other houses were just piles of debris, waiting to be demolished. Perhaps most sobering of all were the spray paint markings left on houses by the National Guard and other authorities looking for survivors. Most markings we saw indicated that the house was found empty, but occasionally we did see a circle with a slash through it, indicating that a person inside had died.

But not all in New Orleans is bleak. We've enjoyed getting to know the French Quarter, from the bars and restaurants on Bourbon St. to the Cafe Du Monde for breakfast (I'll leave these adventures to our other bloggers). My most enjoyable experience by far, however, has been seeing the "Rebirth" brass band perform. The band was fantastic and it was definitely one of the best concerts I've ever seen. I felt like I was taken back to a previous era, and i could only imagine our grandparents swing dancing to this New Orleans sensation "jazz". The Rebirth brass band was slightly different from New Orleans jazz of old, as it combined elements of hiphop, funk, rap, you name it. But the band was amazing, and the crowd was loving it. Large parts of New Orleans might have been lost to Katrina, but New Orleans culture is alive and well.


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