Friday, December 02, 2005

NOLA Death Toll Rises to 1086.
And Lower 9th Ward Opened to Residents

The death toll for NOLA rose to 1086.

This is an increase of 33 since November 18.

The Lower 9th Ward was opened to residents for the first time December 1st. It was described as A War Zone

The Washington family has lived in the Lower 9th Ward since 1947, the brothers said, so they know their hurricanes. The damage to the Lower 9, so vast and awful, isn't what shocks them, they said -- it's the lax response by government to enact any plan to rebuild or repopulate the city.

Couldn't they at least come take away the snapped power lines that hung across the streets and the frayed light poles?

"I think I'm in a war zone, really," said Washington's brother Wilmot, who lost his house in eastern New Orleans. "I'm supposed to walk in this? What needs to be done hasn't been done. There is no reason they couldn't be doing something."

While Thursday marked the opening of the entire Lower 9th Ward, the city still had some rules and limits in place. This was still "look and leave," Mayor Ray Nagin's office said, and "enter at your own risk." The area is open only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and no residents are allowed to remain after dark. Identification is required to enter.
The Washingtons, and other Lower 9th Ward originals, are frustrated at the neighborhood's grim reality and bleak future. It's a time when the Lower 9 is caught in the sights of developers seeking mass property buyouts. Activists have papered the streets off Caffin with red and white "No Bulldozing" signs, even on Fats Domino's compound.

No doubt the death toll will rise again with the return of residents to the Lower 9th. How many will face the horror of finding loved ones?

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