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Hurricane Ida rips at the jazz heart of new Orleans

Hurricane Ida rips at the jazz heart of new Orleans

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The iconic sons of New Orleans don’t come any greater than Louis Armstrong.

What Hurricane Ida did to the city on Sunday night then has struck a dagger right through its jazz-loving heart.

The Karnofsky Tailor Shop was known as the second home of ‘Satchmo’, where the family who owned it lent him the money to buy his first cornet and where, as a star, he would later meet fellow musicians. It was also the first shop in the Big Easy to sell jazz records.

It is now nothing but memories and a pile of bricks, ripped apart by the category four winds of Ida. A building that had stood since 1913 was no match for one of the five strongest storms ever to hit the US.

For the people of a city where even the airport is named for Louis Armstrong, it is a tough loss to swallow.

“At some point you think these buildings won’t come down for anything,” said local historian Courtney Gallo, “except it seems maybe a category four.”

“It’s almost like a testament to New Orleans going through this, to lose something that important because of its history.”

Most of New Orleans escaped major damage from Ida, a testament to its resilience and the improvements to flood defences after Hurricane Katrina.

Laplace is one of the small communities where people have had to be rescued from their homes
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Laplace is one of the small communities where people have had to be rescued from their homes

But outlying areas continue to deal with an aftermath of heavy flooding and wind damage.

In Laplace, 30 miles west of New Orleans, boats have been ferrying out families who were trapped in their homes. A similar story is playing out in other small communities.

For most people the biggest problem is the continuing lack of power. It could be weeks before the grid is restored after lines were damaged by high winds.

For that reason alone, you find plenty of people looking to leave, trying to hitch a ride out of town to somewhere, anywhere, that could offer some sanctuary.

The same thing happened after Katrina. Then many didn’t come back and New Orleans is consequently a very different and somewhat smaller city these days.

Even though Ida was a bigger storm, it was no Katrina in its impact on New Orleans. Still, there are some long, hard days ahead.

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