Cedar Rapids, Iowa; One Year Later
Sorry for the light posting over the last few days - I've been on a road trip since Saturday, and for the last 24 hours or so many of the Blogger blogs have been unable to accept new posts (it's still not fixed yet, I found a way around it). And I'm now staying at a Trappist monastery in Iowa for a few days (with no Internet access), before driving up to Minneapolis tomorrow to see Dr. John and the Lower 911 Band at the Dakota Jazz Club. I'll be spending the month of July blogging from my hometown of Minneapolis ("returning to my native village," as they say in India).
My first stop was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I lived for part of my grade school days, from kindergarten through 6th grade, and I toured the flood area on Sunday, and I was surprised at how devastated the area still looks one year later. The vast majority of the 4,000 homes that were affected are still abandoned, and will probably never get rebuilt (too old, too damaged, too expensive to rehab, no insurance, etc.). Scattered among those abandoned homes are a few that have been rebuilt with residents living there, and a few that are under construction. But it really looks pretty grim in "Iowa's Katrina" neighborhood.
A few visible signs of how badly the area was devastated, besides all of the abandoned homes:
1. There are portable toilets scattered around the worst-hit neighborhoods, I assume for workers, displaced residents, inspectors, etc. in those neighborhoods, many of which must not have water or sewer.
2. The gas station above in the photos, which was under water on June 13, 2008 at the height of the flood. A year later, nothing has changed, including the year-old price on the sign: $3.87 per gallon.
Here's a recent NPR report "Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1 Year After Record Flood"