Hope Gives Way to Desolation in Desire
At Mardi Gras time a year and a half ago, Noah Adams reported on the St. Philip's Kids Cafe -- families gathering for a church cafeteria meal in the neighborhood that many New Orleanians call Desire. Last week, he returned to find a deserted, badly damaged church and desolate streets.
The church and houses around it have been spray-painted by search-and-rescue crews looking for the living and the dead following Hurricane Katrina.
On a Mardi Gras visit in 2004, the church was full of energy and young people. The Kids Cafe -- with food from America's Second Harvest and cooked by students at nearby Dillard University -- was designed to bring families together each Thursday evening. In a neighborhood of need such as Desire, many coming to the Kids Cafe were hungry.
But pride and pride and hope were in evidence. The Desire housing project had been replaced by family homes. People felt the worst of the drug days were past.
Now the neighborhood is virtually desolate, and there are few signs that residents plan to return.
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