Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Emptiness and renewal

Concrete piers stand as gravestones to the houses they once supported and the lives once lived around them in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward.

Eight months ago, crumpled houses filled the lots of the neighborhood. Since then the bulldozers have been through removing houses that had no chance of repair. A few piles of lumber are left -- we cynically speculated they are there for the tourists. Visitors were left with a clear view of the new levee holding back the waters of the Industrial Canal.

In a strange way, the empty lots sprouting green grass spoke of a possibility for renewal. It was time to clear out the old and oppressive remains of Katrina's destruction.

One family seemed to take hold of that idea. In the middle of this empty space, stood two FEMA trailers defying anyone who would say the land should be a strip mall, housing project, or anything other than they neighborhood they loved.

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