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E.P.: I returned to Alabama to retrieve my wife and view the damage of our home. It was devastating - the city was horrible, and I only saw a third of it. My house was salvageable, but my hope and will to live there was gone.

Ratty Scurvics: Luckily, for the part of the Ninth Ward I lived in, we were on higher ground than just a boulevard away. In fact, all you have to do is cross St Claude Avenue, which I lived on the corner of, and the wasteland begins. There are dark, noiseless miles where it seems like nothing is alive.

Kid Twist: We came back to New Orleans one month after the hurricane. We walked in the door to find our house largely undamaged. It was truly unbelievable. We were surprised by each sentimental object we realized we would get to keep after having mentally accepted them all as completely lost. But we have also come to realize that even though our own personal asses were spared, the soul of our city was wiped out.

Miss O: The question I get from people most often is “was your house okay?” Before I came home it seemed important, but the more time I spend in New Orleans, it seems to matter less and less. Sometimes I think it might even have been easier to lose everything and be forced to start over. The way things are though, there is façade of normalcy, that at times has been comforting, but most times, in comparison to the rest of the city is devastating. As though we are living inside of one mausoleum in a massive graveyard.

Lefty Parker: I lost all of my equipment, and my drummer moved to Atlanta (for good)… The Music rising foundation is giving me some new stuff soon, and I'm hopeful to work on stuff, I'm more inspired than ever... I personally live in my office above the bar on a air mattress, because FEMA has denied me all moneys for no reason other than I answered all the questions on my questionnaire truthfully. Apparently "I don't know what happened to my house, because you won't let me see it" means "I'm OK, don't give me anything" in governmentese.

John Henry: We spent the next few weeks trying to deal with getting money from FEMA - which is a hassle. To this date Heather has received nothing from them. We were getting work but needed to get back home to check on our things... Goner Records is sending me some money from their fundraiser and the Grammy awards/Musicares foundation is buying us a few grand worth of stuff but we're still waiting.

Kid Twist: When we realized we weren’t going anywhere near New Orleans anytime soon, I got on the phone with the insurance company. I had purchased musical instrument insurance two weeks before the storm in anticipation of the tour. A friend of mine pestered me until I did it, and we couldn’t have been luckier in retrospect. They paid out almost immediately based solely on the extensive citywide damage and the immediacy of our tour and we scrambled to replace our sentimentally precious friends/instruments and make 150 new CD’s by hand (we left behind our previous stock when we evacuated).


Continue to read New Orleans Underground musicians discuss the decision not to return.


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