Life Among the Ruins

As New Orleans counts its dead, some defiant survivors plot the city's comeback

The abandoned houses are marked with crude red Xs, their windows spray-painted with the number of bodies found inside. The French Quarter and the Garden District lie dark and deserted, a wasteland of downed power lines, cars with flat tires, massive Spanish oaks toppled at their roots and scattered reminders of the city's former self--a cookbook open to a recipe for ham croquettes, strings of Mardi Gras beads. What little life remains in New Orleans is largely devoted to counting the dead, a task so vast and grim that even the city's coroner, Frank Minyard, doesn't hazard a guess at what...

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