We arrived in Buras this morning, and I'm still trying to get my bearings a little, so I'll keep this brief. There will be more to write later, and I'll post some pictures as well.
Even more than 18 months after Katrina hit, there's a lot of damage to be seen down here. We've heard a few stories so far, and I'm sure we'll hear more in the days to come. The basic drift of what we've heard is that the government hasn't done much to help the people here who are trying to rebuild their lives.
It's hard to sort fact from rumor at this point, but many believe that the government would like the land for other purposes (oil exploration, perhaps), so they're being less than cooperative in order to push people to sell rather than rebuild. Same story as in the 9th ward where houses are allegedly being condemned and taken via eminent domain if not gutted by a certain deadline. I'm told that as of this September, FEMA is even taking back the trailers it gave to people as temporary housing even though most just completed the gutting of their old homes and can't possibly have them in livable condition by then.
The people of Buras are extremely nice and appreciative of the help they're receiving from the Emergency Communities group I'm volunteering with. One man told me that all the help has given him new faith in humanity.