The people who won't leave New Orleans.

Notes from different corners of the world.
Sept. 8 2005 1:08 PM

Dispatch From New Orleans

The people who won't evacuate.

Josh Levin filed several dispatches from New Orleans last week. You can find the others  here, here, and here.

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Don Meinert in Audubon Park. Click image to expand.
Don Meinert in Audubon Park

Driving toward the river on Magazine Street, I see Audubon Park on my left and pull into the parking lot. A guy driving a motorized cart and smoking a pipe passes by, and I ask him if I can hop on and ride around with him. Don Meinert, who works maintaining the park's small golf course, says he's been living in the maintenance shed since his house got deluged by floodwater. The golf course looks like you could play on it tomorrow—in fact, Meinert says a couple of National Guard guys have played a few holes in the last couple of days.

The park is completely dry but there's lots of tree damage, mostly to younger, smaller trees. When we see one felled giant oak, Meinert stops the cart. "That was a good tree," he says. "I miss it, but it's gone, ain't nothing I can do about it." As we're winding back to the Magazine Street side, Meinert stops the cart again. "Don't tell me they did that," he says, looking toward a group of soldiers who've set up camp 100 yards away. He says it again, more loudly: "Don't tell me they did that." I'm assuming they chopped down a tree or something—there are a couple of big ones down in our field of vision. "They're flying the Texas flag," he says. "Ain't gonna let no other flag fly over this state."

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