Repost from the old site.
Of course, the entire Internet was full of incredible photos from Hurricane Katrina after the storm. One thing I have not seen much of, though, are overhead pics of the damage. Sometimes, to get a “bird’s eye view” of a situation, an overhead pic is capable of showing us tumultuous scenes in an entirely new way, a whole new perspective, so to speak – one which we can rarely grasp from the ground as non-flying mammals 5-6 feet off the ground.
The fantastic photos above were taken by a forensic dentist who was down in NOLA after the flood helping to identify bodies (in keeping with the Katrina death toll theme of this increasingly morbid blog). One of the things I found stunning about the photos above is how much water is still in NOLA, and how NOLA seems to have taken on some aspects of what we radical treehuggers call “re-wilding”.
In case you don’t know, re-wilding is a deep ecological concept that holds, rather quixotically, that mankind should begin “re-wilding” areas that had been previously seriously altered by human activities. Since re-wilding doesn’t have a positive effect on anyone’s bottom line, it hasn’t been implemented much. But we see signs of it anyway, though it is inadvertent.
For instance, I am told that some US inner cities are decaying so badly and consequently being abandoned by their human populations, that certain lots are heading back towards native vegetation.
Detroit comes to mind. About 20 years ago, I read that there were parts of Detroit where so many structures had been torn down that vacant lots outnumber developed ones. Purportedly, these lots were going back to something like native vegetation. At the same time, wildlife was supposedly returning.
Now, I figure if a US city is going to fall apart, it’s better to have vacant lots re-vegetate and have the real wildlife come back, as opposed to such “wildlife” as heroin addicts, criminals, crack dealers and addicts, homeless folks pushing shopping carts, etc. The non-human animals cause very little harm, cost society very little, and in general, have a positive impact on society, while the human wildlife above does the opposite.
With that in mind, take at look at the photos* above.
In the first photo, an entire street is devastated and is now surrounded by what looks like native forest. A vast green area, dotted with homes, lies in the distance. Through this verdant grassy plain flows a totally improbable river (Or is it an elongated lake?) which probably never existed before. The plain is spotted with equally improbable smaller lakes, sloughs, backwaters, etc.
In the second photo, what looks like riverfront homes have been devastated, Hiroshima-like. There really is nothing left. All that is left is the remains of a woodland, combined with sand where homes once stood.
The third picture has not really re-wilded, since this was a densely settled area of probably expensive riverfront homes. Yet possibly 70-80% of the homes are pretty much totaled. Trees seem to dominate the as houses seem to recede into the background. The effect is to transform a densely settled city riverfront district into something like a rural tract with homes on large lots.
A street winds through the homes that no longer exist – a street that can no longer be called a “residential” street. I can just picture a deer or coyote wending down that street. It wouldn’t seem out of place at all.
With that, I leave you, and I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving.
*These photos were originally huge – each about 2 to 3 MB in size. The photos themselves would have been about 12 inches across in actual size. It was rather messy, but the inimitable Photoshop was able to shrink them down to about 50-70 KB (a 97% reduction) with very little loss of quality, which I consider to be an amazing feat. We also enhanced the photos quite a bit, also with Photoshop.