Out of the Ruins …

Inside the Headquarters thought it would take its show on the road (literally) and motored down to New Orleans — a perennial staff fave and home to the multi-quadrillion dollar lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

What fails to receive enough attention is the tremendous work done by the U.S military in helping this city of sin, which was incapacitated in the aftermath of the unkind, but not unreasonable Hurricane Katrina. One reader was especially thankful for the National Guard soldiers that restored order to a population out of control, crediting the Guard patrols with saving her home from the looters that ravaged businesses blocks away.

Speaking of the Guard, the largely unknown gem-of-a-base — Jackson Barracks, dating to the 1830s, (that’s just two decades past the famous War of 1812 Battle of New Orleans that took place at Chalmette Battlefield a tad downriver) appears on schedule in its long-overdue rehab. Much of the work might be completed as early as 2009. The state seized the opportunity afforded by the storm and moved forward with the project with a mix of funding, most money coming from military construction dollars. The postage stamp-size headquarters (it’s just 100 yards wide and a mile long) is home to the Louisiana adjutant general and overlooks the Mississippi (when one can peek over the levee).

Though flood waters ranged four to 22 feet, the exquisite historic structures that make up one of the largest collections of antebellum architecture survived. The horseshoe of pre-Civil War homes, virtually unchanged after 170 years, still house Army officers.(Unchanged, save for the post-Katrina levee barricades and maybe the razor wire, all in the name of security, and not the homeland kind.)

Jackson Barracks might not yet be open for business, but residents and business owners here in the City of Our Lady of Perpetual Decay repeatedly ask us to let people know they are open and waiting for their friends to come back.

New friends are always welcome.

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