Finally Real WiFi

This is the first time I’ve had high speed internet access since I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana. I have a few hours here at the Rue De La Course café in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans. I should now be able to deal with more of my photos and fix the ones that did not upload properly. Maybe I’ll get a little writing in, too. I expect to have some more time on-line later on this afternoon and/or tonight.

The photos should make some more sense, once there are more in sequence. I will be adding some explanations after I do the initial work of getting them uploaded. The flickr tags should give you some additional clues in the meantime.

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Gerry Hall: "…out here was worse than New Orleans."

Last night, I interviewed Mrs. Gerry Hall, 72 years old, African American native of New Orleans, who has lived in the house that she owns in the Upper Ninth Ward for forty years. The house flooded badly and was then further ruined by mold.

One of Mrs. Hall’s daughters, Violetta, has been living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for the last six years. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Violetta Hall was living in a coastal apartment complex in Long Beach at 101Cheri Ln.

Several years ago, Gerry Hall began to have health complications with congestive heart failure and diabetes and had to leave her job of twenty years at a check cashing place in New Orleans. After about two years of being unable to work, Mrs. Hall began coming to stay with Violetta on weekends and working as a cook at an assisted living facility in Gulfport. As a result, Mrs. Hall was in Long Beach with her daughter the last weekend of August, when Katrina arrived. Gerry Hall, Violetta Hall, and Violetta’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, all spent about four weeks together in an unofficial shelter in the Quarles Elementary School in Long Beach.

I interviewed Mrs. Hall in her FEMA trailer in a camp of FEMA trailers at the A-1 RV Park & Campground in Pass Christian, MS.

Everything on the beach …. Violetta’s house—nothin’ but slab. Her car—gone. Found her car where my grand daughter’s livin’ room was—where there’s nothin’ but slab, I mean nothin’… You pass there, you never know a house was there or apartments was there….

I’ll be 73 years old in June, and this is the worst. I was in Betsy, in New Orleans in ’65, and I thought that was bad. And then after came Camille, went to Mississippi. But this here was the worst. And then New Orleans, we had all that flood, but at least a lot of the people’s houses are standin’. But to me, out here was worse than out there …

They say, “you from New Orleans. Ooh yeah, you’re about all that in the Superdome.” That’s all they talk about. They never talk about the flood … or how bad the houses are or anything like that.

But to me out here was worse than New Orleans. It was devastating. The whole Gulf Coast. The whole beach. Even now, when you pass on the beach. It’s pitiful. All these big mansions. It’s nothin’—nothin’ but gravel, nothin’ but splinters of wood. The whole beach is just torn up. Even now, we passed there a couple of days ago—nothin’. That beach is just gone.

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