HCMC Dining Guide

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This post is completely off-topic, but it's something I'd like people to see.

I've been trying for a while to find the pictures my mom and I took when we saw our house in New Orleans for the first time after Hurricane Katrina had roared through. We drove into the city from our friend's house in Mississippi, where we had evacuated to, two weeks after the storm. We were able to make it into our neighborhood, but our house was still out of reach thanks to the remaining floodwaters. We returned the following week, and this time the whole area was dry.

Our front door wouldn't budge, but one of our side doors had been cracked open by a search and rescue team. We squeezed through, and were stunned by what we saw. It essentially looked as if the house had rolled around in an ocean for several days: every single piece of furniture had moved, in some cases several rooms away from its original spot; and everything was damp. The entire first floor was ruined. We took pictures of all of this, but we lost track of them over the past few years. I searched last time I was home, to no avail, and a few weeks ago my mom finally stumbled across them in a folder on our family computer. They are startling.
This was our front/computer room.

Our ruined piano

the living room
There wasn't normally a couch blocking the stairs
These next few were taken a few weeks after the previous ones, when we had dragged almost everything out of the house and piled it up on the curb outside. Notice the mold on the walls.
dining room
my bedroom

the water flipped our trampoline and destroyed our backyard
For more images from what my neighborhood looked like after the storm, as well as what it looks more than six years later, check out this post I wrote when I was in the U.S. last fall: http://mike-alongthemekong.blogspot.com/2011/08/six-years-of-healing.html.

These images will certainly stay with me forever, as will the eerie silence of that first trip back, broken only by the unexpected ringing of our smoke detectors. It should be easy to see why Katrina was such a searing event for the city of New Orleans.


  1. Wow. The wreckage is just unbelievable.
    This is irreverant, but I have to say that Hurricane Katrina did solve one of my life's problems for me - now everybody I meet already know how to spell my name.

  2. Well that is definitely useful...and don't worry, irreverence is welcome.

  3. I was shocked when reading your post. You must have had a hard time overcoming this :(

  4. It took some time, that's for sure.