Euro Jet Proud To Be A Part of New Orleans This Week
Written from New Orleans, LA:
As my Champion Airlines Boeing 727-200 was on final approach, I could see something terribly wrong on the ground. Houses had no roofs, and in some cases the house was just missing entirely; trees lay ripped apart; power lines were scattered and all twisted.
The airport had turned in a makeshift hospital/morgue/relief center. An entire major city was facing near total destruction.
We were not in a war torn country.
We had just landed in New Orleans and it was mid September 2005, some three weeks after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina which had destroyed the coast of Mississippi and caused the water levees in New Orleans to give out allowing for the worst flooding, death, and absolute chaos ever imaginable.
I went for a walk and saw first hand how some house were washed away, others still had a foundation with just a door or toilet remaining, and then the saddest were houses where all the furniture remained, but everything was covered in mold. Every house was marked with an X or other sign describing to demolition crews on what to do.
I walked down Bourbon Street. It was empty. There was no one. Windows were shattered, most hotels closed.
Would the city ever be the same?
Despite very negative press, President Bush went down to New Orleans constantly, showed the utmost compassion, and poured significant amounts of money and resources into Mississippi and New Orleans.
I traveled with his delegation every month and over the course of the year we started to see improvements on each visit as the city rebuilt.
As my US Airways Embraer 170 begins its final approach into Louis Armstrong International Airport, I see roofs on the houses, power lines up, and the regular hustle and bustle of a major US airport.
This week New Orleans will host the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference where Euro Jet is proud to be a part of those exhibiting. Key members of the private aviation community will gather from all over the world to meet, greet, and learn about the latest the industry has to offer.
No doubt the evening celebrations will be a little more intensive than perhaps other US cities that host the show.
In 9 years the city has gone from near total destruction to once again being one of the most popular tourist destinations and host of top US conferences.
When I walk down Bourbon Street and view some “interesting” behavior, nothing will make me happier than to see it packed with people having a good time.
This week I am proud citizen of New Orleans. Long Live the Crescent City!