Video by: Olivia, Ricardo, Ryan, Elizabeth
Josh: The biggest theory or idea I could connect between New Orleans and the Oak Alley Plantation (OAP) was the historic reliance on the Mississippi River delta, as well as the constant fight against its flooding and natural destruction. The guide at the OAP mentioned that somewhere around 500 plantations sprouted up along the Mississippi, because of its aid in commerce and transportation. This closely embodies how New Orleans relies on the Mississippi River, whether historically trading and connecting the city to “far away” plantations; or presently, the utilization of globalized trade. I’m sure the Mississippi also impacted plantations negatively with its constant change in sediment and fresh water flow, as well as the major flooding. I felt like the areas damaged by Katrina and the levies breaking showed the lack of support and disaster follow through of the federal and state/local governments. A lot of the buildings seemed to be less damaged, as of now (10 years later in August), than I first imagined coming to visit. I believe poverty, just as I learned it in the dictionary, is the state or condition of having little to no money, goods, or means of support. Poverty exemplifies a majority of people in New Orleans who lost everything in Katrina and are still working to dig themselves out. I don’t think I’m necessarily impoverished. I think I make enough money and have enough support to get by day to day, and even enough to plan ahead a little. One thing I am impoverished in is hope. Hope for a government that follows through and helps people back on their feet after life’s series of possible unfortunate events knocks them down. Good thing New Orleans people look out for each other, if they didn’t, this city might be looking like Detroit.
Hannah: Oak Alley is a perfect example of the long history that New Orleans has and the sense of tradition. Oak Alley Plantation is over 150 years old and has gone through multiple changes in families owning the Plantation. Oak Alley has had minor remodels but is generally the same as it was when it was originally built. This reminds me of New Orleans. Aside from the restorations to buildings due to damages and the inevitable growth, the city still has rich remnants from over 150 years ago. Despite changes in local and national government over time, the city still holds on to its deep-rooted traditions like Oak Alley does. At Oak Alley I learned that pineapples used to be a sign of wealth and given to house guests. Today, pineapple can still be given to the guests of Oak Alley. When we did the City Bus Tour, the bus driver shared New Orleans traditions with us that have been alive for generations such as St. Patrick’s Day parades. Seeing the areas damaged the most by Hurricane Katrina was humbling and something I never thought I would see first-hand. I remember watching the news and seeing the clips of people stuck on their roofs and furniture floating in the streets. It seemed very surreal that I was in the same location. However, I was surprised because if the bus driver had not told us that we were in a neighborhood that was damaged from Hurricane Katrina, I would have never guessed. The houses showed no sign of long-term damage and the neighborhood seemed to be just fine. I was surprised by this but happy at the same time because it shows the hope and pride the people of New Orleans have for the city. The people that call New Orleans home really want to be here and continuously work to re-store the city in order to make it the best it can be. None-the-less, some of the houses we saw were delapitated and had nobody living in them. This could show physical poverty but there is more to poverty than that. Poverty does exist in New Orleans but so far, it has not been seen in extremely predictable ways. I see poverty as a state of a continual lack of an essential needed for survival. From what I saw today, Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans in a state of poverty but the people of the city are fiercely working towards and succeeding at combating poverty. The poverty I see in my own life is not the same poverty that the people of New Orleans have. I am not always optimistic and would have a hard time living somewhere that I know is not permanent and would get discouraged thinking about the possibility of the place I love getting destroyed so easily. As I see more of New Orleans and the people, I hope to find a way to overcome this.
Cristian: So I knew the Oak Alley Plantation was going to be big but it was actually way better than I thought it was going to be, just like how I thought New Orleans was going to be big but not that big. Also I pictured the plantation to look nice but it was way better than I expected. Same with New Orleans, I thought it was going to look somewhat beaten down but it looked way better. Back in the past it would take three and a half days to get to New Orleans and now with the bridge built, it takes 50 minutes to get there. I honestly did not remember that we had seen the houses that were damaged by the hurricane because I was expecting to see some houses missing and some really beaten up. But I did see where the water levels reached and although it was bad, my brain didn’t register how bad it was and so to me I didn’t think it was that bad. My thoughts about this would be different if I would have seen the disaster more recent and not 10 years later like I am. To me, poverty is being poor. I am impoverished in a way that I tend to not do things that have risk and so I wouldn’t want to live in a below sea level city like New Orleans because of the risk of a natural disaster happening. There are people in New Orleans that stayed in their homes after the disaster happened and they choose to stay in New Orleans. They risk their homes being destroyed and I’m the type of person that wouldn’t do that.
Philip: When we visited the Oak Alley Plantation, I was amazed with the facts presented. The owner’s wife didn’t spend money wisely, which hurt the family’s plantation until one of the sons was old enough to take control of the plantation. However, when the Civil War ended, slaves were freed which also hurt the Oak Alley Plantation. The thing I learned from the tour was the set up, arrangement, and ways of living life were important for family and I admire the ways things were done at the living quarters. Going on the City Tour and seeing first hand the damage that Hurricane Katrina caused almost 10 years ago was horrible. Some residents from pre-Katrina haven’t come back to a completed home, which is a tragedy for innocent people. Poverty to me is the lowest class of poor. I believe that everyone is impoverished in their own ways. One of mine is being patient, it is very low and others can see it viewed in a variety of ways. Another area for me is attitude. The hurricane would really change my attitude and I would be negative toward the city and the people within the city. Poverty can be described many different ways, but viewing where you are in poverty is a challenge.