NPR logo Returning to the Ninth Ward

Returning to the Ninth Ward

New Orleans resident Jene Moore has returned to a trailer in the Upper Ninth Ward after spending time in Murray, Ky. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Noah Adams, NPR

Teron Guidry left the Ninth Ward when he was only 9. Now 32, Guidry is working to help clean up the neighborhood. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Noah Adams, NPR

A dispatch from Noah Adams, blogging from the Gulf Coast:

I drove out Piety Street then switched over to Desire. It's now a familiar route, heading into the Ninth Ward. This is across the Industrial Canal from the Lower Ninth and some call this neighborhood the Upper. I crossed the streets named Industry, Abundance and Treasure, then turned on Clouet to find St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church. I first came here in 2004 for a story about an after school supper program — meals for children and their families prepared by students at Dillard University. That was a happy, satisfying story. Last October I came back, finding no one I knew. Only a few of the houses were sound enough to live in.

Today, the crunch of dried light brown mud is gone from the streets and the grass. A few more houses have people. I met Jene Moore, a grandmother. She'd been away in Murray, Ky., and smiled when she talked about the folks there who brought a school bus to New Orleans. Jene and her family were the next in line at the convention center when the bus from Murray pulled up. Now she's back in a trailer, her collapsed house untouched. "No school," she said. "No store."

Teron Guidry was nearby, wearing a big straw hat. He's part of a crew hired to clean up the streets and sidewalks. Thirty-two years old, he left this neighborhood when he was 9. "I didn't like it," he said. "I don't like poverty-stricken places and drugs." He had a smile. He was making money today sweeping up; Guidry usually works as an electrician. "I'm happy to help here, though. I don't like seeing this."

The first time I came to the streets around St. Philip's (which remains closed) I stayed all afternoon and into the evening. The second time, after the storm, I stayed for an hour or so. Today I left after 30 minutes.

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