NEW YORK – Traveling by boat and wading through foul-smelling water, Harry Connick Jr. (search) surveyed the damage by Hurricane Katrina (search) to his father's New Orleans home.
It wasn't as bad as Connick had feared. "It looks like pop's house made it through," he said. "Everything looks like it's pretty dry."
Connick returned to New Orleans Monday, a trip documented for NBC's "Today" show and aired Tuesday. He had traveled to the city last week.
His father, Harry Connick Sr., served as district attorney of New Orleans for 29 years before retiring in 2003. Last week, the 37-year-old jazz singer said all of his immediate family were safe.
Like many, Connick wanted to return to protect his family's house: "I don't want to get looted by the one-eyed rogue crackhead out there."
Connick performed Friday night on "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," which aired on NBC and other networks. He has agreed to be honorary chair of Habitat for Humanity's "Operation Home Delivery," a long-term rebuilding plan for the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast.
The trip through the flooded city left the singer — who had developed his music in jazz bands and at clubs in the French Quarter_ shaken.
"I forgot I was a musician," he said. "It's so much bigger than me and bigger than all of us."
Nevertheless, with the floodwaters slowly receding, Connick saw reason for optimism. After the sight of a bar open on Bourbon Street, "I said, 'Man, if this isn't a sign of New Orleans coming back to its former state.'"