Hoffman Triangle. In Central City. In New Orleans.
I mentioned this location yesterday. I said that it looks like some of the Hoffman Triangle houses were finally returning to the hospital corridor in Mid City. Unless I missed a few locations, it looks like I was wrong. The houses that I know about are still in the triangle.
In fact, it looks like this area is still waiting for something to happen. Ten years later. Yes. Sure. There are a few new or rebuilt houses scattered about. But, for the most part, most of the structures look like the broken and abandoned church in picture number two. In some kind of defense, this area was drowned in a lot of water from the spillover in Broadmoor, which was described as a punch bowl.
My story. Hmmm….
First, let me say that poking around is my memory has not been the best thing for me. I’m moody and grumpy just like pretty much everybody I know. I’m really trying to forget this stuff. It’s a lot of weight. To add to the fun, The President is coming on August 27, to commemorate the storm. I’m not sure where he is going to be, but I just know I’m going to have to do a work around from whatever streets his motorcade will block.
Since we evacuated before the storm arrived, I really can’t tell you what being trapped in the city was like. I have the brief flashes of what I saw on CNN. I remember seeing one of my neighbors on CNN. He was in a small flat-bottomed boat, holding a revolver in his hand. There was a number of other people in the boat including his wife. They had decided to ride out the storm and had to be rescued. His wife was shouting at him on the video I watched. When I finally saw them again, I asked her what she was yelling. She said that she telling him to put the gun down because he looked like an old fool.
Then there was the night of all the fires. Even though 80% of the city was under water, there were a lot of fires. Gas lines had been ruptured. The smallest spark and blammo. I was watching CNN and they were showing a scene from Carrollton Avenue in a neighborhood near Broadmoor. A house exploded into flames. The news commentators were going crazy. First, they had no idea what they were looking at and second, fire makes them happy. I looked at the house and said out loud, “Oh my God, that’s my friend’s house.” Yes. Indeed it was. He had just finished completely restoring and renovating it back to its original look about a week prior to the storm. It’s an open field now.
Well, not exactly open. The restaurant up the street bought the land and grows their fresh vegetables on it.
One more memory.
After the first few days we changed hotels. We moved to Sulphur, Louisiana. The town looks about like it sounds. But, I am forever indebted to the people who live there. It’s a few miles away from Lake Charles. We made a trade with Cleco, which is an electric power company. They could house about 15 employees on cots in our big business class suite and would be closer to New Orleans. We needed to find something a little more long-term and less expensive, so their representative found us another suite about three hours upriver. It was one of those motels you see at an exit of an interstate. It was more blue-collar and built to house oil and heavy industry workers who were working away from home. It was lot cheaper and the spaniel was welcome. We got there pretty quickly and we had out choice of “suites.” Really, a suite was motel room with a little railroad kitchen and eating area stuck along one wall. That was just fine. The managers were incredibly kind to all of us. By the next day or so the entire property was full of New Orleans refugees. I’ll tell you more about that in another post.
Once we settled in, I start looking around. We needed to find food and something to cook on, water, stuff like that. I also needed to get the spaniel walked. She liked two walks a day, about 45 minutes each time. She knew something bad happened. Establishing a routine for her helped to establish a routine for us, the wandering Gypsies. We figured out a walking route which ran along Interstate 10. That’s a straight shot from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. It passes through New Orleans. One night we were standing on the embankment along the interstate. It was maybe four days after the storm passed through. All of a sudden a convoy of twenty California Highway Patrol cars passed by with four officers in each car. You know. CHiPs. CHPs. Like state troopers in other states. 80 of them.
You have to understand a little of my personal history. I was born in Brooklyn, NY. But, I was raised in Southern California. I am not really from New Orleans. At least, not in the way “being from here” means. The California Highway Patrol means a lot to me. I grew up with them. They are very well-trained and super professional. They know how to do their jobs. Coming from California to New Orleans via I-10 is about an 1,800 mile trip. It’s about a 27 hour drive if you drive straight through. Far away.
And, they were coming for us.
- That’s one of the houses that came from Mid-City to Hoffman Triangle while the hospital corridor was being demolished and eventually rebuilt. All those paintings on the boarded up windows were an attempt to dress the buildings up a little bit. I think they were painted in 2007 or 2008. Funny how time slips away. And, more hills. This time I’m sure what’s buried there. Left over storm debris. I’ve been to this place before.
- Central City, of which Hoffman Triangle is a sub-neighborhood, is home to about a bazillion churches of all denominations. This one was flooded and never came back. I’d like to show you the water line, but after ten years of heavy rain and extreme weather the water lines have faded way. Just like time itself.
- The Mid-City buildings are also raised just in case another flood should happen by. Even though this placement is supposed to be temporary, that foundation is pretty stout. And, tall. Maybe if legislators worked in buildings like this one, they’d actually be forced to get something done. Oh. Oh. Oh. Did I say that? By the way. All those open fields? They used to be houses. Once.