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I drove into New Orleans late last night, and will be heading out to Jazz Fest later this afternoon. Given the darkness, I wasn’t able to get an overall sense of the city’s state, though I did see, right off the bat, that big stretches of the city seemed much more unlit than they used to, and that nearly every streetlamp lining the freeway was canted at a slightly odd angle. After leaving the freeway, the state of things became much more clear: Canal Street north of Rampart (the part not focused on tourism) looks like a war zone, nearly every building boarded up, barricades everywhere.

This morning at breakfast, reading through the front section of the Times-Picayune, I ran across this:


I couldn’t get a clear image with my cell phone’s camera, but these are the paper’s Official Notices pages, three full pages, each with eight columns, each with entry after entry declaring that

The City of New Orleans gives official notification that it intends to demolish or haul away the home/property located at [address]. The City of New Orleans determined that this property [is in imminent danger of collapse/is in the right of way] and must be removed. A legal owner who disputes the proposed demolition must present their objections in writing to the Department of Safety and Permits of the City of New Orleans before the thirty (30) working days are up. The City of New Orleans makes no legal representation that relief will or will not be granted.

Column after column. Home after home. And I can’t help but wonder what percentage of these property owners will ever even see these notices?

More from Jazz Fest, later this weekend.



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