Video: Charles, Camilla in New Orleans

By Correspondent
NBC News and news services
updated 11/4/2005 1:35:37 PM ET 2005-11-04T18:35:37

The royal couple is slated to get an up-close-and-personal view of the devastated east side of the Crescent City Friday afternoon, as they continue on their first official visit to the United States.

Prince Charles and the duchess of Cornwall will tour the Lower Ninth Ward, where many of the dramatic rescues took place after several levees failed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, flooding many homes up to their roofs. It also is the place where dozens of people died.

Lower Ninth Ward destruction
A large barge still sits on Jourdan Avenue after crashing through or washing over a concrete levee, escorting water from the Mississippi River into miles of small bungalows and cottages.

Many survivors, perhaps believing they had survived the worst of Katrina, suddenly found themselves and their homes swallowed beneath 10 feet or more of water — with few options.

The now-dry landscape is barren and quiet these days. Many of the homes teeter on the brink of collapse, cars sport the familiar horizontal rings of flooding.

The royal couple will scale one of the compromised levees with officials and meet with a number of residents of the Lower Ninth Ward.

Accepting an award for his contribution to architectural understanding at Washington’s National Building Museum on Thursday, Charles said he and Camilla had been “utterly horrified to see the terrible scenes of destruction wrought by the hurricane across New Orleans and the surrounding area.”

Charles, whose charity the Foundation for the Built Environment is helping to fund reconstruction projects, said he planned “to meet some of the brave and resilient people trying to rebuild their lives and to pay tribute to the astounding efforts of emergency workers.”

Students' chance to meet a prince
Afterward, the pair will head to St. Louis Cathedral School in the French Quarter, which on Oct. 17 became the first school in New Orleans to reopen after the storm. They will be met there by many of the 90 students, who will carry British flags to greet their royal visitors.

Charles and Camilla are heading to New Orleans after wrapping up their visit to Washington on Friday with a wreath laying at the World War II Memorial and a meeting with young students of Shakespeare at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Throughout the royal tour of the United States, Charles has underlined the bond between Britain and the U.S. — forged, in part, by the common struggle in World War II.

Offering a toast at a White House dinner on Wednesday, Charles recalled the “selfless service” of personnel in that war as “a measure of the commitment, courage and comradeship of our two great nations.”

The weeklong tour, designed to bolster trans-Atlantic ties and promote Charles’ environmentalist causes, also represents a coming-out for Camilla.

The U.S. tour, which began Tuesday in New York, will continue after New Orleans with a visit to San Francisco

Ron Mott is an NBC News Correspondent on assignment in New Orleans. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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