Monday, September 01, 2008

Hurricane aftermath

Hurricane Gustav is spiraling its way north and west across Louisiana as I write. New Orleans appears to have been spared the worst; I haven't heard from the youngsters over in Cajun country to the west to find out what damage, if any, they have suffered. Not surprising then that I was reminded of pictures taken in May of the small fishing and oil-platform servicing port of Cameron on the Gulf coast while I visited in Louisiana.

As the US Geological Service reported, the beaches of Cameron Parish, Louisiana were located just east of the point of landfall for Hurricane Rita, in the right-front quadrant where winds and surge were a maximum. Some small towns in this zone no longer have any structures remaining. The combination of low elevations and a storm surge approaching 6 m (20 ft) that swept across the coast, resulted in bare concrete slabs and less-than-vertical pilings where buildings had been located. That was in late September 2005, only three weeks after Katrina trashed New Orleans.

Nearly three years later, these are just some of the sights that I saw, primarily in Cameron, which didn't rate much mention in the press.

All those bare foundations! Very difficult to picture the destruction that they represent.

But people are adaptable...
...and continue to think of tomorrow when they might have a chance to make the needed repairs.

Although it is common for houses to be mounted on short pilings in SW Louisiana, the Sson pointed out the more recent structures atop 5 to 8 foot pilings in hopes that they will survive future storm surges from the Gulf. (We were both surprised, though, that we didn't see much in the way of cross bracing.)

In some cases, the lower level is serving in lieu of a patio or front porch!

Nothing made me more aware of how peoples' lives are uprooted by a violent storm than the basketball hoop still standing, lonely, along the highway.

More Pictures & Blog Commentary: In addition to the USGS before and after pictures linked at the beginning of this post, aerial coverage is available here; a blogger posted his own pictures, followed by comments from Cameron Parish locals.


worldphotos4 said...

NO was lucky this time. I'm sure there are plenty of hard luck stories in other areas.

Jules said...

I feel so sad for the ones that lost so much when i look at some of these photos - especially the basketball hoop.
Hopefully the youngsters are all well.

Granny J said...

steve -- NO was lucky, but I wonder just how many times they can empty out the city without suffering the fate of the boy who cried "Wolf!"

jules -- welcome and do return. I don't know which hit me harder -- that basket ball hoop or all of those empty cement cement foundations with weeds growing up around them.

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