Note: ROYAL STREET annotations are a spoiler-free zone!
Today, I’m looking at chapter 12. In this chapter DJ makes her first post-Katrina foray into the neighborhood of Lakeview, where her mentor Gerry’s house is located. Note: the full annotated Royal Street, updated with each new entry, can now be found on my website.
For Gerry’s house, I used my own former residence on Bellaire Drive. It was what in New Orleans is called a Half-Double (in the rest of the world it’s called a duplex), so a friend and I lived in the lefthand half, and a doctoral student and his dog lived in the righthand half. The shared backyard was only the width of the house but it was deep, and it slanted up steeply in the very back, rising to the jogging path that ran alongside the 17th Street Canal levee.
It was also located two blocks from the levee breach that caused most of the flooding in the city of New Orleans proper.
So, here’s the house that I lived in. This shot was taken in early October, after the water had finally dried. Note that there is a double driveway in front, but it’s totally covered in mud. Note also, the doors are standing open. The force of the floodwater knocked out every door in this neighborhood, which had a population of about 10,000. So that was 10,000 homes destroyed just in this one neighborhood alone. The water was inside the second story.
Here’s what it looks like now. Note the trees were all killed, and the houses close by on either side of it have been demolished. There was nothing to save. And you can see the driveways again! You can also see the floodwall in the back now that the houses and trees are gone.
Here’s Alex’s car, which he refuses to drive into the flood zone. He’s kind of obsessive about this car…He replaces it in Elysian Fields with something big and manly.
That’s it for this chapter. Stay tuned….