Last August 29th, Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast just east of New Orleans, severely damaging or destroying 250,000 homes and displacing millions of residents. In the months since, most of those people have returned home or begun new lives elsewhere. But many — in the hundreds of thousands — are still in limbo; they're living in FEMA trailers or temporary housing, fighting for insurance settlements, and waiting for government officials to tell them how to rebuild — or whether they even can. To see the recovery effort up close and to talk to survivors, editor Patrick McCombe and I flew to New Orleans, where remodeler and JLC author Mike Davis gave us a tour of the city. After that we explored the Mississippi coast. Before arriving, we imagined carpenters on every street corner; what we found was a little different.

We start our tour in the streets surrounding City Park, neighborhoods bounded by the 17th Street Canal on the west, the London Avenue Canal on the east, and Lake Pontchartrain to the north.

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