The iconic sons of New Orleans are no taller than Louis Armstrong.
What Hurricane Ida did to the city on Sunday night then struck a dagger in her jazz-loving heart.
The Karnofsky Tailor Shop was known as the second home of “Satchmo”, where the family who owned it loaned him money to buy his first cornet and where, as a star, he would later meet other musicians. It was also the first Big Easy store to sell jazz records.
It’s just memories and a pile of torn bricks category four winds of Ida. A building that had stood since 1913 failed to live up to one of the five most severe storms to ever hit the United States.
For the residents of a city where even the airport is named after Louis Armstrong, it is a loss that is hard to swallow.
“At some point you think these buildings won’t fall for nothing,” said local historian Courtney Gallo, “except that maybe it looks like a category four.”
“It’s almost like a testament to New Orleans going through this, losing something so important because of its history.”
Most of New Orleans escaped extensive damage from Ida, a testament to its resilience and the improvements to flood defenses after Hurricane Katrina.
But peripheral areas continue to suffer the consequences of heavy flooding and wind damage.
In Laplace, 30 miles west of New Orleans, boats are transporting families stranded in their homes. A similar story is playing out in other small communities.
For most people, the biggest problem is the persistent lack of potency. It could be weeks before the network is restored after the lines were damaged by high winds.
For that reason alone, you find a lot of people looking to leave, trying to hitchhike out of town to somewhere, anywhere that might offer sanctuary.
The same thing happened after Katrina. Then many didn’t come back and so New Orleans is a very different city and a little smaller nowadays.
Even though Ida was a bigger storm, it wasn’t Katrina in her impact on New Orleans. Yet there are long and difficult days ahead.