Squandered Heritage Vintage
 

My House on Apricot Street

We left on August 28. It was one of those days that are forever in your memory. Bumping down the streets at 6 am to pick my daughter up at a friends house. Looking at everything and everyone as long as hard as I could. I have never seen so many people out so early. Everyone I saw was packing up the car, no one looked at you, everyone glanced, and then looked away.

People always complain about the potholes, I have always loved them. They make you go slow, they allow you time to look.

We drove over the Huey P with every intention of returning in 3 days. Just like everyone else.

We went to Houston, and then Austin. It took me 3 months to get back and that was just for a weekend.

While we were evacuated and waiting I looked for a photo of my house, the house that I have always called the Titanic, a raised sidehall shotgun.

I have never counted the steps from the back porch to the front but I think about it everytime I walk to answer the doorbell. I used to think about it more often before the storm cause the kids in the Neighborhood would ring the bell and pester me. I let them pester me, I encouraged them to pester me. I have no idea where they are now.

Apricot St Northwest Carrollton

People told me my house was fine, and I knew it was fine. I knew there was 4 feet of water downstairs but I also knew the house was over built. It could withstand, it was built to withstand. But still at night I would wake up with my heart racing, what if people were lying? What if it the mold had eaten away at the downstairs door and made a dash upstairs and went after my house like one of those flesh eating viruses.

Where would I ever find a house that I loved as much as this house?

This is what I thought most houses would look like

Mid City

And while there are houses that look like this, there are many many houses that have held up more or less like my house.

Aside from the 4 feet of water in the downstairs and the leaks in the ceiling the ripped off screens on the back porch, aside from the dead trees and yard filled with burnt timber from the catastrophe on Pritchard Place, aside from the lack of care, my house on Apricot Street looks good. It is missing the front awning and has a sad naked look. I loved that awning, it was a reminder of my Aunt Idas house in Saugus Mass. She had those awnings.

The great part of this story is that my house survived. A little beat up, and no longer a flood virgen but in one piece. We moved back in. I wondered what happens to houses that are not lucky enough to have someone to love them. And that is the reason I wander around looking for the houses people want to knock down.

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use for Squandered Heritage. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.