progress… on Benton Street Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

When I went to New Orleans in May there were 6 guys and 18 gals (including me). For one week, 5 of the guys worked their assets off drywalling a house on Benton St. in the Lower 9th ward..

This was the house they were working on in May 2009.

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My boys….left to right…Isaac, Chris, Kevin and front Said and Ahmad.

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And here’s how it looks now….

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Counting how many folks are home… Monday, Oct 12 2009 

It’s a challenge to figure out how many people have come back to New Orleans. It is hoped that the 2010 Census will really help southeast Louisiana get a more accurate count.

In the meantime, one of the key measurements is the number of addresses receiving mail. On this trip,more than any other, I’ve been seeing mailboxes in locations where its obvious no one is home (at least not at that address).

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Air Boat Swamp Tours Monday, Oct 12 2009 

It was pouring rain but that didn’t stop us. We wanted to experience an air boat (maybe its too much CSI Miami) and the weather wasn’t going to be a barrier; ‘sides, we got soaked from the boat anyways.

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We went out with Louisiana Swamp Tours in Crown Point(Marrero); on the other side of the Mississippi River.

Sitting in the front of air boat was great; water stinging in our faces and splashing everywhere. We made several stops as our guide Jay told us about the swamps, the destruction of the wetlands, and alligator info. (Normally you would dry off during these stops but it poured rain through all of them).

The guide had a “pet” alligator; if she looks happy its because he demonstrated how to tell gender – you can use your imagination.

alligator

We also saw some bigger alligators in the wild, including a 13-footer!! This one was smaller…8 ft or so…

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Up to a certain age you can tell the length and age of an alligator by measuring the distance between the nose and ridge on the head. One inch equals one foot and one year. Eventually they slow down and grow much slower.

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Because of alligator farming these guys are no longer on the endangered species list. Farmers can take alligator eggs from the wild before they hatch. If left in the wild about 1 in 6 will survive. In the farm setting less than 1 in 6 die. Farmers must return 25% of the alligators to the wild when they are between 3-4 ft which greatly reduces their risk.

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