June 9, 2006
Gulf Coast: still a mess
Here on the East Coast, it can be easy to forget about Katrina and how little recovery has been made in the nine months (!) since the hurricane. For the people living down there, or unable to return to their former homes, it's all still happening.
To illustrate just how much life is not back to normal on the Gulf Coast, the NY Times is doing a series of articles on the current state of the towns along US Highway 90. The first article is about shrimp season, which is starting up in Bayou La Batre in coastal Alabama, and all the fishing boats that are still grounded, stuck in bushes or in the woods.
These stranded boats mostly belong to immigrant Vietnamese fishermen who didn't have insurance. FEMA apparently won't retrieve private property, and the Army Corps of Engineers has yet to figure out how to move these 100-ton boats, some of which are half a mile from the water, without disturbing protected wetlands. So they're still up there.
"If Katrina ever slips momentarily from one's mind here — if — the plain sight of these boats in the woods snuffs the daydreaming. The slow, complicated efforts to extricate the hurricane-stranded vessels mirror the slow, complicated efforts to extricate this hurricane-damaged city of 2,100 from that one day last August."
Another great and strange picture in this piece features some Mennonite volunteer recovery workers playing volleyball near their temporary housing site.
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