When we returned to New Orleans 6 weeks after Katrina to inspect the state of our apartment there, we expected to take hundreds of pictures. We soon learned that the drama did not lie in any individual example of damage but in the vastness of it. Still, a few things were unusual — or typical — enough to require documentation.

All of these were taken in the Garden District, along Magazine Street, and Uptown.


Okay, this one is pretty dramatic. The tree roots have pulled up an otherwise intact section of the brick sidewalk.


Everyone who could afford to, put their refrigerator out into the street for the trash. In normal circumstances, you would remove the door for safety, but trust me, you did not want to have anything that was inside of these refrigerators out there.

It took weeks before the sanitation department could even begin to pick them up, and meanwhile some of them were used as message boards or billboards for political statements.

This one says "Back up unit — He gone" and "Do not open until Mardi Gras".

"Looters will be shot". A homemade sign that seems pretty self-explanatory.

  "Follow me to the dump"

House on Prytania Street. Isn't it weird how it's just the front wall of one room?

Update, one year later: The room has been gutted, and work continues on it, but the front wall is still missing. The house is now a local landmark of sorts: "That house on Prytania with no front".

  This fellow, spotted on St. Charles near Tulane, was NOT typical. Still, there he was.

This tree went through the apartment next to ours, and through the apartment above ours. Thankfully, our apartment was spared (lower right window-and-a-half).

  Looks like a playset until you look closer. Some interesting scaffolding that sat in our side yard for weeks.
  Bananas in the trash on Magazine Street.
  Makes a more interesting photo than the straight fence would have.

"Roof Damage — Need Blue Roof"

Obviously, the inspectors looked only at the front of the house before moving on. This indicates that the back needs a blue roof. Hope they got it.

"No Pets Inside"

The Humane Society and ASPCA broke into many homes and apartments to rescue pets. A sign indicating where the pets had been taken was typically spray painted directly onto the front of the house or the front door. We saw other signs that said "We are home — Do not take dog!"

  Trashed water heaters.They remind me of The Jetsons' maid, Rosie.

We have blue roofs in Rocky River, too.

We have downed trees, too.

I wonder if they're paying as much for restaurant work in Rocky River as they are in New Orleans, where there were signs offering $10.00 an hour, and a signing bonus, at Burger King.

We have big piles of trash out by the curb here, too.

Can't tell you how appreciative and fortunateI felt when ALL the trash in the neighborhood was picked up that day.

In New Orleans, they started trash removal about 6 weeks after the hurricane. Only a few houses on each block were lucky enough to be chosen for pickup each time, so they could spread the service around the city.