My wife met Madeleine Landrieu earlier this year on a business trip to New Orleans and the Civil District Court Judge drove Elissa and her co-workers around town to tour the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. That’s how I very luckily got connected with the Landrieus and for our tour with Bob, Madeleine added her father, former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. His other children include Mitch, the current mayor of New Orleans and Mary, a US senator from Louisiana. Madeleine drove us to meet her dad at the site of the breach of the 17th Street Canal where he spread out several maps on the hood of her SUV to make sure we recognized the city’s unique relationship with the water that surrounds it as lakes, canals, wetlands, bayous and one big river.
Moon Landrieu also served as Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and was able to offer special insights into the city’s blighted houses. Here are several videos of our tour with the Landrieus through New Orleans neighborhoods like Lakeview, Gentilly and the Lower Ninth Ward.
Bob also spoke with Lawrence Powell, a history professor at Tulane University about the past, present and future of New Orleans. I asked him to choose a meaningful site for our interview and he picked the Hollygrove Market and Farm as a symbol for the future of the city. Guillot’s Nursery used to be located on this site, but it was wiped out by Katrina and did not re-open. In its place, there’s now a community garden and a thriving farmer’s market which we’ll hear much more about in two weeks from manager Paul Baricos and two farmers.
Click here to see more pictures from our trip to southern Louisiana.
Our final guest this hour is Kerry Mitchell Kraft. She was an incoming freshman at Tulane University in the summer of 2005. Kraft was on campus to attend a special orientation - to get acquainted with the school and the city - as Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans on August 28. The day most students arrived to move in was the day the university closed its doors. Kraft evacuated with her family but she was already in love with New Orleans and had no desire to attend any other school. Tulane was closed for a whole semester but Kraft returned and earned her undergraduate degree, then got a master’s from the business school. Now she’s working in New Orleans, says the city is abuzz with a younger, service-minded, entrepreneurial culture and Kraft plans to help write the next chapter in the history of the city.
Next week in part six of our series No Place Like Home, we examine the struggles of two families to return to their homes and lives in Violet, Louisiana in hard hit St. Bernard Parish following Hurricane Katrina. And we’ll speak with a New Orleans doctor about health care options in the city since the storm and about the psychic health of the region after the series of disasters.
You can also listen to past episodes in the series:
And here’s a map of the locations of our interviews and other points of interest, including the rough route of our driving tour with former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu and his daughter Madeleine.
View BES in New Orleans (7/2010) in a larger map