The Desolation in St. Bernard In St. Bernard Parish, just east of the Ninth Ward, the destruction is so vast that it resembles a land forgotten. Every home and business but one was destroyed or damaged. The storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico went over top the 40-Arpent Canal Levee and the roofs of one-story structures. You can tell because there's still grass and other household items resting atop the roof tiles.
NPR logo The Desolation in St. Bernard

The Desolation in St. Bernard

The storm surge from the Gulf topped homes in St. Bernard Parish. Some were lifted off their foundations and put back down -- in this case on top of a car. James O'Byrne hide caption

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James O'Byrne

The storm surge from the Gulf topped homes in St. Bernard Parish. Some were lifted off their foundations and put back down -- in this case on top of a car.

James O'Byrne

It's curious but every devastated area seems devastated in its own way.

The New Orleans' Ninth Ward is remarkable for the homes moved off their foundations by the floods. The first three streets parallel to the Industrial Canal, which breeched, are blocked by homes that drifted into the road.

In the Gentilly neighborhood, along Lake Pontchartrain near the London Canal breech, the water left behind several feet of sediment inside and outside some homes.

In St. Bernard Parish, just east of the Ninth Ward, the destruction is so vast that it resembles a land forgotten. Every home and business but one was destroyed or damaged. The storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico went over top the 40-Arpent Canal Levee and the roofs of one-story structures. You can tell because there's still grass and other household items resting atop the roof tiles.

Arabi and Chalmette look like graveyards with ruined suburban homes for tombstones. It's so quiet that it hurts your ears.

One in 10 St. Bernard residents are back, parish officials said. Most of those are city workers who live in rows and rows of one-room FEMA trailers in a former park. Everything that was green is brown, poisoned by the saltwater. There's virtually no one in the neighborhoods. In two visits, we saw only one child.

Parish officials say the cavalry arrives in a big way on Sunday. As many as 2,500 volunteers with Habitat for Humanity are expected to help clear debris and gut the homes and businesses that might be able to be rebuilt.