I don't know the Lower Ninth and the boundaries of all the neighborhoods that well, so I am just calling the area north of St. Claude the canal area, because it is getting closer to the breach.
In this area, musicians Harry Connick Jr and Branford Marsalis concieved a village that would house musicians, (but realized that they couldn't rightly exclude others). Habitat for Humanity took on the project and together they have completed or started on at least 72 homes. Learn more about Musicians Village.
The area will also include duplexes for elders. Here is an early artists drawing of the development, from the web site.
Here are some of the homes that have been built.
The people of the area seem really pleased that Habitat is contributing to rebuilding their community. They speak very highly of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's involvement and support. Carter's Gulf coast Project is helping to rebuild all along the hurricane damaged coast. Thank you President Carter.
Nearby is Fats Domino's house.
The sign out front is for Tipitina's Foundation, helping to rebuild the neighborhood. The real mission for the foundation is to preserve and support the music industry in Louisiana.
Out of the Lower Ninth, though, is Tipitinas Uptown which, if you have never been to, well, you have missed out on some good music.
If you are living in one of these homes near the canal, this is what protects you. A wall of dirt with a concrete fence on it. Well, there's more to it than that.
From the canal side, imagine this filled with water, and the force with which the water would hit your home in the case of a breach. When it happened, it carried the wall of dirt that makes up the levee with it.
The homes being built look substantial, and the ones being restored have weathered many years and several hurricanes, including Betsy in 1965. The levees along the Industrial Canal failed, homes in the Lower Ninth Ward were flooded up to their eaves, residents drowned in their attics. Sound familiar? Here is Betsy's track:
And here is Katrina's track in 2005.
And here is a picture of the flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward in 1965 after Betsy.
So, lessons were not learned after Betsy.
Here is a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, located near the areas pictured.
The warnings were out there. Now, are the levees being restored as they should be? My next installment in this series will examine the rebuilding of the levees. Read Part 4, Levees, here.