Cowan says you can call it the luck of geography: The Civil War-era mansions are mostly on higher ground.
The wealthy have their woes, too. But, Cowan points out, they have the means to get more help.
"These houses are historic," observes contractor Andy Guzman. "They've been here for ages."
One hundred-year-old mansion is now inhabited by the contractors who helped restore her. The owners asked them to move in and since then, they've become the ambassadors of the neighborhood.
"I had a friend of mine call me and say, 'Andy, whatever you charge me to go into my house.' And I said, 'It's not about charging you, it's about accessibility. We're willing to do it," Guzman recalls.
He and his business partner, John Crouch, have become quite a resource for those wealthy evacuees who have the wherewithal to not have to rough it.
"They call," Crouch says, "and they find out what's wrong with their house; they all think their houses have burned down or been looted, or they're under water. …(But we give them) a little hope that they can come home, at least, and know their house is not laying on the ground or under 10 feet of water."
Cowan notes that some of New Orleans' aristocracy are refusing to leave.
Resident Ashton O'Dwyer characterizes it as a "Lord of the Flies, Robinson Crusoe existence."
O'Dwyer has a home on St. Charles Street, one of New Orleans' most famous addresses, and he has water, generator power, and bins full of ice for his highballs.
Where did he get all that ice, Cowan wondered.
"I'm a resourceful guy sir," O'Dwyer responded.
Resourceful and, Cowan say, nervous, despite the military's presence.