2 worlds

I have been documenting houses for over 2 years, the initial landscapes of destruction were omnipresent and painful, as time passed the human element became erased, partially because they had been hauled off and also because what was left took on a sameness of tone and color.

Yesterday when I saw these 2 houses side by side it reminded me that those that can are rebuilding in spite of a myriad of roadblocks.

In another part of town the fight for “Lockett School”:http://www.squanderedheritage.com/2007/12/07/lockett-school/ and what will replace it still rages on. The “RSD”:http://www.nolapublicschools.net/ has offered verbal assurances that something will be built there, but New Orleanians are no longer satisfied with verbal promises, nor written ones for that matter.

Given the fact that the “fiscal situation”:http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/01/budget_troubles_hamper_rsd.html with the RSD is unclear any promises made by them for future rebuilding would seem best met with cautious optimism.

The words transparency and best practices have been used over and over, usually to placate and silence people. I found this “informative and only slightly dated piece”:http:http://www.soros.org/resources/multimedia/katrina/projects/PublicEducation/story_SqueezingEducation.php interesting because it sets the stage for what we could soon be seeing here with regards to many of the School facilities.

Because the school board owns dozens of properties that will almost certainly never be schools again, A&M has turned its attention, and at least one of its $500-per-hour managers, to the task of how to offload the properties. This is an area of simmering political interest and soon, no doubt, will become the center of much more active attention from developers.

One of the more recent conversations about rebuilding has centered on “mapping” and data collection. With these tools grass roots organizations and rebuilding Neighborhoods hold information that has yet to be collected and can influence the rebuilding and place the decision making power into the hands of those who are most impacted, the citizens.

We,along with Cornell University and UNO are sponsoring a free “GIS Workshop”:http://courses2.cit.cornell.edu/nonap/?cat=7. We hope that this workshop will provide tools as well as information about the power of data and the politics of ownership of data.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...