Monday, May 28, 2007

Hope for NO East

In Gentilly, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is up and running.

And they have hope, and so does our city!

Even More NO East

Another house that doesn't look like it's being fixed.
This McDonalds is on the corner of Morrison and Dowman, and I'm sure it was very busy before the storm.
On a positive note, the Wing King down the street was open.
In Gentilly, this shopping center is fenced off and closed.
The Walgreens' across the street is open though.

More photos of New Orleans East

This had a yard of the month sign, and it appears to be finished, and occupied. There is a lake behind the house, but not a lot of neighbors.

Two shots of the same property--one showing the house, the other the FEMA trailer.
No one here
This backyard faces the interstate and it doesn't look like anyone is here.

New Orleans East

This house obviously hasn't been touched.

No one here either. Realize that this picture (all these pictures) were taken while drivng down a four lane road. The fact that I could stop and do that says as much as these photos
No cars, no FEMA trailers, no neighbors, just empty houses
Even the thrift shop is desolate

I've chronicled the recovery of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina at various times here. Today I drove through the area known as New Orleans East. As the name implies, it is on the eastern side of the city, but within city limits. The area was developed in the 1970's and has gone from being a white area to a mixed area and now one that is primarily African-American. There are a lot of middle class and nicer homes--it is the part of town favored by African-American professionals--and a lot of huge apartment complexes that held Section 8 tenants before the storm. New Orleans East was also home to the largest (in terms of square feet) shopping mall in the city, namely The Plaza. Unfortunately, The Plaza had fallen on hard times even before the storm. Today when I drove by it was a pile of rubble. Several of the large aparment complexes had demolition signs on them and a few have already been torn down. A couple have been renovated and reopened.

For those of you who know the city, I drown down Read Blvd. to Morrison, and took Morrison (a four lane road) to Donman (another four lane road that connects to the Interstate). From Dowman, I turned onto Gentilly Blvd. and continued on it until St. Bernard, at which time I quit playing tourist and got back on the interstate. Here are some pictures.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


My son has his last final exams tomorrow. If he passes, that means homework is over until August. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And if you think I'm excited, you should see him. He got out of school at 11 today and I came home this afternoon to study with him so hopefully he got in enough study to pass the tests. I suspect he failed the one today. It was algebra and he has struggled with it all semester. If he passes the class it will be with a low D. If it was a class that he was never going to see again, I'd take the D and just be happy it is over, but he is going to have to take Algebra II in another year so I'm queasy about him barely passing. Summer school is a drag but it will only be for three weeks, assuming he passes all his other classes--and he could fail the other two too.

It's been a long year. We've decided to send him back to the same school next year as much for the stability as anything. We don't know if someplace else would be any better, and it might be worse. Sometimes I hate a lot of things about the school; but I do think that the people working with him care about him, and that's worth something.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Teens and Driving

One thought that has been on my mind lately is teen drivers. You see, I have a son who just turned 15, and who last week informed me that the kids at school told him that at 15 you can get a learner's permit. My mildly autistic son has a normal teen desire--to drive a car. On the one hand I'm thrilled that he is experiencing a normal desire at a normal age. On the other hand, like I told the special ed teacher at school this morning when he made a comment about my son driving "that's a scary thought". My son is disorganized, inattentive and has lousy motor skills. Those aren't exactly qualities that make me eager to put him behind the wheel of a car. On the other hand, my job is to get him ready for life, and in our society, grown-ups drive.

Elena wrote tday about her teenaged driving son. The gist of her post is that she doesn't like the fact that the car allows him to distance himself from the family. That's not really my problem. My problem is that I think it will take a long time for my son to be a good driver (if he ever is) and we live in suburban area with lots of busy streets. The "payoff" for me letting him drive would be that he could drive to school, and since his school is in the city, it would be a major help for us not to have to pick up and drop off. However, it would mean a long drive on busy streets during rush hour.

When I was at school this morning I saw flyers for drivers' ed. They are teaching it at summer school for a couple of weeks. At this point we may be looking at summer school for academics. If not, I'm trying to decide whether to sign him up for drivers' ed. Parenting teens is tough. I don't have the dating issues to deal with, but I have others.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Bragging

My daughter's school had an awards ceremony tonite. She was recognized, along with lots of other kids (it is a magnet school for academic achievers) for having a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Last nine weeks she came home with a report card that left a lot to be desired, so I guess the increased supervision has helped.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Things to See

I don't really know what to write about, but if I'm going to keep a blog, should do so regularly. So, what have I been up to? Well, today I went to see the Vatican Mosaic exhibit. It was in the old Ursaline convent in the French Quarter. The mosaics were reproductions of famous works including one by Monet and one by Degas. It was amazing to see those little tiny bits of stone all working together to make a beautiful whole. I'm no art expert but I really enjoyed seeing these mosaics. The "lagniappe" (something extra for free) I got was a chance to see St. Mary's Italian church. After the nuns moved out of the convent (about 200 years ago) the archbishop moved in and a new, bigger chapel was built. After the archbishop moved down the street to the Cathederal, the church was eventually given to the Italian community that occupied the French quarter for many years. Some time ago they quit saying mass in the church so I've never been able to see the inside, and like most churches of its era, it is beautiful. Finally, near the French Quarter is Blessed Francis Seelos parish which worships in St. Vincent de Paul church (the parish was formed via the merger of three parishes). Shortly after the merger, the church burned. I drove by it today and thought I'd take a look at their renovations. They did a nice job. Those old churches just have a feel to them that modern ones don't match. I'm not one who thinks that all the problems of the Catholic church would be solved if they just said mass in Latin again, and turned the priest away from us; however I do love traditional church architecture and decor.

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