Sunday, October 23, 2011

Presbytere Katrina and Mardi Gras Exhibits

When I visited the Presbytere in New Orleans in 1997, there was a small civil war submarine at its entrance. This time, there was a boat used to rescue people from the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. The lower floor of the building has a very moving Katrina exhibit. When you walk in the first thing you see is Fats Domino's ruined piano, and then you look up to find bottles and hands floating in the air above you giving you the feeling of being underwater and looking up at debris and hands reaching down to help you.

The high winds shredded part of this flag.

This pirogue was used to rescue Katrina survivors.

This garage door was particularly moving to me because of the note about the owner wanting to bury his family's dog, though their cats apparently survived. The exhibit explained a bit about the X-Codes shown here. One source says, "Investigation of the code revealed that this graphic is clearly prescribed by the Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force manuals. As I learned to decipher the codes, I found that each included a date, a time, an identification of the search unit, and sometimes other information about hazards encountered. Whether anyone was found, alive or not, was recorded in the bottom quadrant."

As I said, the Katrina exhibit was very moving. It is rather nice that after you move through a rather heavy exhibit, you enter a Mardi Gras exhibit to cheer you up. Even the doors to the rest rooms were kind of cool.