Monday, August 29, 2005

Going back to New Orleans by Google Earth

Today the hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. This is horrible; a city with some of the few historical relics they have in the US like the French Quarter, Café du monde, the cemeteries (remember the dope scene in the movie Easy Rider at the cemetery) and the cathedral.

This a picture of the cathedral with tower, between the parc and the trees (left) with the road into the French Quarter (towards the top) and to the right under the parc Cafe du Mondo, famous for its coffee (with or without chickory)

I studied in New Orleans from 1966 till 1970. They were the best four years out my life. I loved the city; I had problems with the damp climate. And I was in the middle of a hurricane in 1969. To me that was quite an experience. The day before the hurricane hit we had taken all kind of precautions such as taping the windows, putting water in the bath tub and buying candles. When we were finished we sat down and had a ball. The next day might be devastating so why not enjoy the moment; and so we did.

When the storm just rick shaded along New Orleans, it was terrifying. The speed of the wind and the torrential storms made it all horrible. And then it gets quiet as the eye of the hurricane gets close. But after that the storms pick up again. By next morning the storms had departed and it got quiet. A lady friend of mine, Betty, a teacher at a high school, proposed to drive around the city and we did. I had a movie camera with me and recorded all kind of damage of traffic lights and trees.

It took weeks before all the mess was cleaned up. We went to the coastal house of Betty’s Grandma and started to clean that up. You had to be careful for snake bites as they might have been driven to other areas by the water.

All together it was quite an experience. But what I see on CNN, I would not l like to be there now and certainly not in the Dome with the ceiling coming down.

Just two days ago I installed Google Earth and was of course playing around with the pictures of New Orleans. I could zoom in on the buildings which I have known so well.

This is Notre Dame Seminary at South Carrolton Avenue

The Google pictures are old pictures taken on a nice day. I would like to see the samel picture tomorrow to get an impression of the damage.

Yet I hope that Katrina will not hit the city too badly and will spare it from floods. Floods will hit the poorest areas of New Orleans and the frail monuments.

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