THE COMPLETE ARTICLE
The New York Times
America’s Open Wound
By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 21, 2006
The recovery in New Orleans has gone about as well as the war in Iraq.
It's eerie. The air is still. There is no noise. Night is falling.
The five stone steps in front of me once led to a porch, or maybe directly to the front door of a house. There is no way to be sure. The house is completely gone. All that's left are the five steps, one of which is painted with the address, 1630 Reynes St. The steps sit alone, like a piece of minimalist art, at the front of a small vacant lot full of weeds and rubble. Next door is a house that is completely capsized, fallen over on its side like a sunken ship.
Welcome to the Lower Ninth Ward. You won't find much holiday spirit here. In every direction, as far as it is possible to see, is devastation.
On another lot, piled high with the rubble of a ruined house, I saw a middle-aged man standing in the front yard weeping. He wore a dirty white baseball cap and he was sobbing like a child. I walked toward him to ask a question but he waved me away.
Whatever you've heard about New Orleans, the reality is much worse.