To answer some of your questions, uptown fared better than some other places. There is a lot of wind damage everywhere, but there was very little flooding. My guess is that places like Cooter Brown's and Camellia Grill will easily be repaired and back in operation. Also, I think most of the old houses, even if they did get some water in them, will survive. Again, I think most got wind damage (windows broken, shingles missing, tree falling on them, etc.). Those with wind damage only will stand. Those with water, it's hard to tell. I've heard reports that some parts of uptown did flood, but I'm not sure which parts and I don't know how high the water got (if you recall, at least 90% of the houses uptown are built up at least a few feet - like D's house, so even if there was some flooding, many of these houses may have been high enough to avoid the water). As for the west bank, it did okay. Very little flooding but LOTS of wind damage.
The news stories are pretty bad, but get ready, because the real horror stories are going to start once St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes assess the death toll. It is so completely sad. M. and I were in Chalmette and saw things you'd never even imagine. All of the survivors we spoke to told the same story - the water rose 6 feet in a matter of minutes. After the initial surge, the water rose an additional 6 to 10 feet within an hour. Most people in one-story houses never had a chance.Even if they got to their attics after the first surge, they didn't last long when the water continued to rise. Those who made it to their roofs were washed away as the water (in some places) rose above their roof tops. Those who weren't washed away were blown away by sustained winds far in excess of 100 mph with gusts up to 170 mph. The stories are horrible.