Thanksgiving 2009 in Slidell, Louisiana.

As a book reviewer I am the first to attest to the theory that fact is often stranger than fiction. I have not counted up the number of books that I have read in 2009, but I’ll bet it is way more than the regular person! The one genre of book that I really enjoy is non-fiction, I love to read facts. Facts are real, facts are tangible, facts are indeed facts. The Broken Road by Keifer Bonvillian caught my attention.

In part one I talked about how I became interested in the Katrina and Ike hurricane story. In this article I want to try and give some idea of what happened. If you are from New Orleans, Slidell, or any of the other areas hit hard by Katrina or Ike I apologize in advance, I can only talk about one area at a time, and do it through the eyes of a stranger.

Jan, my stepson Joey, and I were invited to spend Thanksgiving in Slidell, at my wifes ex-sister in laws. It is too complex to even attempt to explain!

After we had had our fill of Turkey and other great food Joey suggested we take a ride to Lake Pontchartrain. As I had never seen it with my own eyes, I was up for the adventure.

For over four years I had heard about my wife’s earliest memories of growing up in Slidell. She lived in what is known as a camp. Oh, its not something that involves tents, it is a house or other structure that extends out over the water.

Jan had told me many times about a place that she held special in her heart, when she was down she would make the trek to her favorite place, it also happened to be right next door to what was a landmark restaurant in Slidell, Vera’s.

I have hunted high and low. This is the only photo I can find of the pre hurricane situation. It really does not show the place in its glory, but it is the best I can find.

verasbefore.jpg

I did manage to find a couple of post Katrina pictures.

verasafter1.jpg

verasafter2.jpg

The most damaging of all though was being taken on a tour of the area. There is little left. For every 10 homes destroyed, there is one that has been rebuilt.

Take a drive down the road (courtesy of Google maps). The wooden poles are all that remain of what once was a vibrant community. This is a live version, you can drive down the road and see the destruction for yourself. Simon Barrett.


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