Friday, November 18, 2005

Part 8: Mark and Loy's Bogus Journey.

Ok...I'm out on Thanksgiving Break, so even though I have to make an exam, grade an exam, and make classroom Christmas decorations, I am probably going to update more regularly. A lot has happened, and I feel I'm getting further and further behind.

Recap: We went back to Metairie for a day to check on my parents' house, which suffered mild damage (We would later learn that mild means $25,000 to the insurance company...) and my brother's, which almost flooded, had it not been raised 3-4 feet above the street, which had 3-4 feet of water in it.

That weekend, Mark and Mr. Loy, his dad, decided to rescue Mark's car from the parking garage. We had no transportation, so if his job called him back, what were we going to do? When we went to Metairie, we got my mom's car, which had water in the back footwells. But that was going to be for me to go back and forth to Nicholls for school. Mark spoke with his bosses, who said that they had set up in Baton Rouge, and as soon as he could get there, he had a job. So on Saturday morning, Mark and Mr. Loy got in the white pick-up, which could blend in with rescue workers, grabbed Mark's press pass, and decided to try their luck. When they got to the first military checkpoint, the guy told them, "If you have a press pass, you can go pretty much anywhere." They drove on. It got increasingly hard to get into the city. The second checkpoint, the guys leaned in to savor some of the truck's air conditioning. South Louisiana is so humid and miserable, especially in the summer. These poor, wonderful men were standing in the blazing heat and humidity in fatigues, working so hard to help us, and my F-I-L was more than happy to do them that small courtesy.

Detour after detour cropped up. Streets were blocked by trees, water, and houses knocked off foundations. It took them a lot longer than it should have to reach the garage. We got phone calls every now and then updating us on their progress. We got increasingly anxious. Finally, the phone rang again. It was Mark.

"We're in the garage, and the car is fine. The tires have air, the gas tank is full, the windows are intact, and all of our stuff is inside."

I was overjoyed. That meant our wedding album, our photo albums, my childhood favorite stuffed animals, one of Mark's guitars, my bound copies of The Nicholls Worth and Mark's KNSU tapes, plus our yearbooks, were safe. I cried.

When they went to leave, there was a convoy of mail trucks, presumably bringing local mail to safer places. We later learned everything went to Houston until Hurricane Rita came, then it was bounced to Baton Rouge, then BACK to Houston, and was finally forwarded slowly. Anyway, the convoy was huge. Mr. Loy cut into line, with Mark following. There was only one way out of the city, so they were stuck in the convoy for quite some time. They stopped for a little while, and the guy in the mail truck behind them got out to stretch his legs. He came up to the window and said, "Man, if I'd known you were U.S. Mail, I'd have let you in line easier!" Mr. Loy laughed. "Well, we aren't. We're just trying to get the hell out of here." "I hear you!"

When they pulled up at the house, I was so relieved. We started unloading the car. Then, it hit me: we were unloading everything we owned. That was it. All of our worldly belongings fit into the one car. That was a harsh reality I wasn't entirely prepared to face. Mr. Loy doesn't say much about the trip, other than that "It's way worse than they show on TV."

A new thought occurred to me around this point. We are the new face of homeless. Thanks to FEMA, the Red Cross, my forumers, and my uncle, we were able to buy a lot of clothing. To see us walking down the street, there were no indications that we were homeless. Unless you count the blank stares and the hangdog looks.

I don't think I addressed the blank stares. But, even today, almost three months after Katrina, it happens. If you haven't spoken to one of us, you can't possibly understand the look. It's a far off stare used only when thinking about or talking about what happened to the city or yourself or friends or family. It involves staring stoically into space, focusing on nothing, speaking in a strange, almost monotone voice frought with bewilderment, melancholy, fear, and confusion. I caught myself doing it one day, then noticed that almost everyone I spoke to did the same thing. It's a haunting, ghostly sight to behold. And even now, I see it and catch myself doing it.

On Wednesday, we sat outside the Bayou Vista Wal-Mart in an Allstate tent. We waited for about an hour, then found out that I would get my full coverage on my 1994 Toyota Corolla, because I had comprehensive coverage. However, we only had renter's insurance. Flood insurance was not offered to us. In fact, we thought we couldn't get it as renters. We have discovered, too little too late, though, that flood IS available to renters. Good to keep in mind for whenever we get our own place. However, as we only had renter's insurance, we learned that unless the house collapses on us, will will get nothing. I have never before wished so hard that my house would collapse. Unbelievable.

Thursday, my parents and Geoff went back to rip out the carpeting in my parents' house. I was unable to help because I had class, and I would not have made it back in time. This time, I had a horrible night at school. The teacher said, "No one wants to do special ed anymore, so we aren't going to cover that." She also said, "Schools use technology for the sake of using technology. It doesn't help the students. Instead, it's a crutch." So I raised my hand and talked about the special needs school where I teach, how we allow dyslexic and dysgraphic students to use a personal word processor called an AlphaSmart in order to get their words across. It's a brilliant tool...even for kids who can write hooks up to the computers and transfers there is no waiting in line for the two computers in our classroom. The teacher's reaction? "Well, that's just a Band-Aid approach. That won't help them in the real world." Then she moved on and didn't talk to me again.


A man in my class, who is a preacher, and a teacher at a public high school down there, brought up that the New Orleans children were not socializing with the other kids. That they were not mingling. He couldn't understand it. He walked up to a group of them and asked if they had all known each other before transferring there. They said no. They had gone to McMain, Archbishop Rummel, O. Perry Walker, Newman, and some other schools. If you know ANYTHING about New Orleans-area schools and neighborhoods, you would know that ordinarily, kids from these schools would NEVER be caught dead talking to each other. He went on for a few more minutes. Other people in the class voiced their assent. I raised my hand and waited patiently. Eventually, the professor called on me.

I addressed that conversation. I said, "Actually, you need to let these kids be alone. Right now, they need each other. Because if Katrina didn't happen to you, then you don't get it. Yes. You all evacuated. Yes, some of you have damage to your homes. But look at where you are and what your damage was. You complained about your uprooted tree. You complained about missing shingles from your roof. Yes. That is inconvenient. Yes, that is an expensive thing to fix. However, these kids have lost their homes. Their posessions. Their transportation. Their schools. Their friends and family, either to our new diaspora or to storm-related deaths. Their parents' jobs. Their way of life. Their sense of security. And none of you get it. Yes, everyone here is this region has been accommodating. Usually warm, friendly, and welcoming. But you all don't get it. You're back at work. Back at school. You maybe lost electricity for a few hours. It may be months before we have electricity again. You have minor damage to your homes, but you're living there. We dont't know when we will be allowed back home. My home near the 17th St. Canal is still flooded to the roof. They've only just finished damming it; now they have to pump it. It is supposed to take months. Be thankful that these kids have each other. Right now, they're all they have. And kids from the schools you listed normally would not socialize with each other. This is amazing that they'er even standing near each other without fighting. Give them time. Right now, they need to be with other people who understand what they're thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Because none of you understand what it's like to have your whole life stolen from you. You think you do, but you aren't even close. Let them be aloof with each other. In time, they will socialize. But right now, they need each other."

I was never called on again.

Geoff went to River Ridge to stay with Calie and her family around this point. I don't totally blame him for wanting to do that. I was suffocating in Morgan City. But I had nowhere to go. I had to stay. I wished he would have stayed. It was someone close to my age I could socialize with. I alienated the people in that one class just by speaking up for the children. But someone had to. I didn't want him to leave. Mark was going to go work in Baton Rouge a few days at a time. I would be all alone. I spent my days with my parents. We made day trips to Houma and Thibodaux to buy clothes and generators and pressure washers and the like. He intended to come back after a week, but that enver happened, because....

...The next week, while I was in class, my mother texted me saying that Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard had announced that people could begin returning to the parish according to zip codes that weekend. My parents were elligible for return that weekend. But I was going to stay in Morgan City a little longer.

The day my parents returned to Metairie was very sad. Mark came home for a couple of days after that, but then he went back to Baton Rouge. I was alone in Morgan City with my in-laws. My parents suggested moving in with them the next weekend. I was going to commute the hour to Thibodaux twice a week for school. Then Mark pointed out to me that the JP curfew was 8 p.m. My class ended at 7:30 p.m. I wouldn't get to the parish until 8:30, if I left on time. And I didn't have a JP I.D. I had an Orleans Parish one. I would not be able to enter the Parish. I resigned from Nicholls the next Monday. On Tuesday, we went to Patterson to visit the aunt who raised my father-in-law. She'd had a mild stroke, and we went to visit her. She looked okay, but was very run down. On the way back, they announced on the radio that the JP curfew was being extended to midnight. I dropped out for no reason.

But UNO was going to offer off-campus and online courses. I could enroll in those! The list came out, and only one of my four classes was offered. I would not be able to afford school next semester if I had to pay tuition again next semester, and my father, whose business met the same fate as my home, would not be able to pay for it again. So I made the executive decision to wait until the Spring semester to reenroll. That's very frustrating. It puts me further away from finishing.

That week, Hurricane Rita raged into the Gulf. She appeared to be making a beeline for either Texas or New Orleans. I panicked. I wanted my parents out of Metairie. My dad was convinced that the storm wasn't coming. It didn't, as you know, hit New Orleans. But suddenly, they added Morgan City to the cone of probability. I found out when Geoff texted me, asking me, "Are you wearing a T-shirt that says "I heart hurricanes" or something?" Mark was in Baton Rouge. People IMed me and e-mailed me, texted me and called me, all telling me to evacuate. My in-laws did not think we needed to evacuate. I called Mark in hysterics, begging him to come home. I didn't know where we could go. If I went to Baton Rouge to be with him, then we'd have to stay in the RV he was sleeping in. I didn't want to be there if the storm moved more easternly. I know what happens to mobile homes and campers in storms and tornados. I didn't want to go to Metairie. If the remaining levees were weakened any by Katrina, I was afraid Rita would do them in. I had a major panic attack. I had nowhere to go. I gassed up my mom's car, which my dad had finished cleaning and was now smelling sweet. As the outer bands of Rita blew ashore, I was pumping gas. The wind caught the door and slammed it shut on my arm, leaving a huge bruise. Mark asked his bosses about Rita, and what did they think he should do. They asked if his family was staying in Morgan City, and they told him, "Go be with them."

I forgot to mention my job and why I was moving back to be with my parents. My school opened a high school in a former elementary school in Metairie this year. My school, which was located in Mid-City, miraculously survived the storm. The priest stayed at the Church, taking in elderly parishoners who stayed. They were forced to leave....the parishoners climbed the bell tower to manually ring the church bells, then father celebrated Mass the Saturday after the storm. The National Guard came in and told them they had 15 minutes to get to the nearby bridge, or they would be arrested. Evacuation was mandatory. Father asked them to give him a few minutes to finish Mass and grab a bag. They told him okay. They were airlifted to the airport and wound up on a plane chartered by and containing Al Gore. They flew to Tennessee and were taken to a Catholic church there, where everyone was just wonderful to them. But although the school was not damaged, there was no electricity or running water, and the rest of the neighborhood was inaccessible. So, to get our children back where they belonged, they decided to move the elementary school to the high school in Metairie. It's about 3 miles from my parents house. The Archdiocese of New Orleans was laying off most of the teachers. But with us being a special needs school, as well as the darling of the head of the Catholic schools, plus having such a wonderful administration, they were able to keep all of the 80 percent returning faculty and staff. We were to report to work on Monday the 26th, then would caravan to Mid-City to move everything. We were vacating for a full year, and we would allow a damaged school to use our facility during our absence. I can't believe how lucky I was to end up at this school. Something was actually going my way for once since this whole ordeal began. I would be one of the lucky few to continue receiving my salary and insurance. For the rest of the Archdiocesan teachers, most of them would be let go October 1. I felt guilt and relief at this thought. I mean, I could have found a dinky job on my own to get money, but health insurance? That was not necessarily a given.

However, with Rita looming, was this in the bag? Stay tuned for Part 9: Battling a storm, Round 2.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Part 7: Post-Katrina Blues set in

Recap: So now my family is safely ensconced in the sleepy town of Morgan City. Mark is working for his grandparents, and I've applied for, but not recieved, a job as a babysitter at the local health club. I've also registered at Nicholls.

My first night of school, my parents dropped me off. I didn't have a car, Mark didn't have a car, and I had no other way to get the half hour ride to Thibodaux accomplished. It was strange being back on campus. I'd visited a couple of times, but hadn't really explored anything. Things were very different. The Union looked nice. The people were different. There was a mural in the Union that wasn't there before. They built student apartments on campus. The Red Cross set up a shelter in one of the gyms and a distribution center in one of the parking lots. The nursing building was being used as a hospital. In fact, Phil's girlfriend, who is also a Callie, if you can believe it, is a nursing major there, and she had to start taking classes in Houma because of the triage center. MP vehicles were everywhere. Students, faculty, and staff were wearing their "Colonel Card" IDs around their necks.

I went into the class, feeling very alone. I had spent almost $300 on books for UNO. I evacuated with some of them because I was doing homework. I was supposed to return to classes on Tuesday. I was now taking two classes at Nicholls, for a total of six hours. At UNO, I was taking 4 classes for a total of seven hours. I was feeling gypped and disgruntled, and I wondered and worried about buying new text books. I got to the classroom and recognized no one. Of course I wouldn't. December will be four years since I've graduated. Plus, I was in a new department. But a familiar face would have been nice.

People strolled in, and all of them seemed to know each other. They talked, they laughed, they complained. About what? About the tree down in the front yard. About the missing shingles. About the evacuation traffic. That's fine. To them, that was tragedy. While it made me feel even worse, it wasn't done on purpose. That was what Katrina brought them.

But then...

"I'm so annoyed. My class is growing daily. I'm already up to 25 kids in my class. I just can't take any more of the evacuee kids. I can't deal with that."

HELLO! YOU can't deal with the KIDS? These are kids who may have lost everything, who had their lives disrupted. You can't deal with the situation? This is an ugly reality you have to face. But did anyone correct her? NO. They JOINED IN. You are in school to be a teacher. In fact, you're already a teacher. Maybe, if this is your attitude, you should rethink your vocation, people.

Plus, didn't they notice that there was one person in the class they didn't recognize? Someone who had never been in their classes before? Someone who wasn't in class the previous weeks before the storm? Someone wearing borrowed clothing and shoes? Someone who looked very depressed? Wouldn't you have figured maybe this person was an "evacuee kid?"

They went on to say how they now have to "undo" what the New Orleans schools have done to these kids, to "catch them up" to their own classes.

Being my first day in class, I decided to let it go. I didn't want to start off with a room full of enemies.

The teacher came in and made no notice of me. That's ok. I kind of wanted it that way. She called roll, and because I was a former student, for some stupid reason, the school wouldn't let me use my married name. I popped up under my maiden name in both classes, and for my ID card. They told me I'd have to do paperwork to fix it. I'd FILLED OUT paperwork saying I had a new name when I enrolled that weekend. The teacher was not nice about it, either. I didn't respond to the role, because I didn't think it was me until she called out the full name. Then I was looked upon as stupid, I think.

We had to give examples of challenges we face as teachers. Being the only person in the row I was sitting in on the edge of the room, I was asked to go first. I took a deep breath.

"My challenge as a teacher is that I don't have my job anymore from the storm. Before the storm, I was teaching third- and fourth-graders with special needs at the only school in the Archdiocese that offers that sort of attention. Before the storm, getting these kids to learn was my challenge, as was getting them to stay focused. Now, my challenge is a flooded school on a bayou in New Orleans, a flooded house near the 17th Street Canal, a flooded car at that house, a flooded graduate school, and a possibly flooded parents' house in Metairie."


The professor spoke. "Well, what will your challenges be when you return to school?"

"My challenges will be to 'undo' what happens to them in the schools they've scattered to. To be there for them physically, as I don't have a house or a car any more. To be there for them emotionally, as I am an emotional wreck already. And to help them ease back into life, as many of them will also be without homes, transportation, parents with jobs, some family members, and everything else."

Not one more word was mentioned that night about the "evacuee kids."

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard announced that night that JP residents could have a three-day window to visit home. You had to be out of the parish by 6 p.m. each night. We would be able to see my parents' home in Metairie. Mom texted me about it while I was in class. That's another thing this storm did. It made kids teach their parents to do things. My brother taught my parents to text. Yeesh.

We left Morgan City at 7 a.m. the Tuesday after Labor Day. time-line is off. School must have started after this. It had to. was on Thursday, and we went in on Tuesday. Mom texted me at a later point in the story. I don't feel like fixing this, as I have to make a reading test tonight.

Anyway, on that Tuesday, we left at 7 a.m. We thought we'd have to sit in a horrendous line to enter the Parish. But by some miracle, we breezed right through. They'd quit checking IDs and were letting people come in.

As we drove further and further along, the destruction-level increased. It went from mildly bent trees in Morgan City to flipped-over canopies at service stations in Boutte, to large steel billboard signs snapped in half in Kenner, to collapsed garages at the airport, to destroyed homes in Metairie. We drove in on Airline Hwy. past the airport. The military had set up base on the runways. It was a sea of green army tents. MPs guarded every intersection, as no traffic lights were working. There wasn't much power anywhere.

We turned onto Williams Blvd. Brick buildings crumbled. Signs were damaged or missing. Roofs were blown off. Street signs were twisted so that if you didn't know where you were, you'd get lost easily. MPs and police and fire fighters from many different states patrolled the streets. The Red Cross had some places set up to pick up MREs and bottled water. Every car drove slowly down the street: sometimes to avoid debris, sometimes to gawk at the atrocities around them.

We pulled onto West Esplanade. The old brick apartment complex had caved in walls. Brick walls. Trees impaled most of the houses. Driving in, we fell silent. People who made it to their homes before we did were found standing outside of their homes. Crying. Hugging. Staring.

As we drove towards my parents' subdivision, the tension mounted. What would it look like? We had seen that the oak tree out front was still standing, from the aerial photos of every neighborhood, but that the tree across the street was laying on its owners' house and their neighbors' house. We'd heard mixed reports of that neighborhood....that it was flooded like mine, that it was fine, that it had some water...the aerial shots looked dry, but all of the swimming pools in the area were filled with a murky blackness. We had no idea what we were driving up to.

We passed my parents' street. There were huge trees blocking the road. We went down to a different street, which looked mostly clear. We were prepared to park and walk if we had to. We turned down a side street to get to my parents' house. We dodged fallen trees. We eased over broken glass and shingles. After what seemed like hours, we found their street. We turned the corner. The tree was still standing. But that's not what caught our attention. What grabbed us was the sight of the gigantic tree across the street. It had crushed their porch, their Ford Probe, and their neighbor's roof. The cement from the driveway was still attached to the roots. Go to to see a picture of it. That's my brother's site.

We turned our attentions to my parents' house. From the front, it lokoed fine. The oak was leaning a little, and it pulled the sidewalk up. When we moved in when I was 11 months old, it was so little, I could fit my baby hand around the trunk. My mom has a picture of me doing that. As I grew, so did the oak. When I left on my wedding day, my mom asked the photographer to do a new picture of me by the tree. So we have one of me in my wedding dress, resting a hand against it. It broke my heart to see that it nearly fell, and would have taken out all of our electrical wires, probably starting a fire, and that it tried to take the sidewalks with it.

The windows on my mom's Camry were intact. It appeared fine. We opened the front door to the house and were met with a strong musky odor with a little something extra. It was dark; but we felt the air conditioning running. We had electricity! We turned on some lights and found some mold on the floor in the den. This meant we took on water. There were no water lines on the walls, so we realized that it was water that shot down the chimney, even though the flue was closed. There was water on the floor by the backdoor. Stepping into the carpeted hallway, we realized that the floor was wet. It was wet in the hall, my parents' bedroom, my old bedroom, and Geoff's old bedroom. His closet and my closet appeared fine, but my parents' was wet. The garage definitely took on water. You could see a slight line on some of the things near the front. We decided that the carpeting was all wet because we have a brick house, and the water blew in through the weep holes. We went around the house to the backyard, as the back door was still boarded up.

On the way there, I saw a pile of dog mess next to the house. Then a few more. Then we noticed that it was awfully large to be a dog. It was either a human or a bear. We don't have bears in that neighborhood. In fact, we didn't have ANY wildlife any more. Birds and squirrels, which are usually prevalent, were non-existant. It was deathly quiet in the neighborhood. You don't realize how much background noise there is in a suburban neighborhood until it's not there any more.

The guy next door to my parents is a very savory character. We call them the trailer trash. That's what their lifestyle is. They leave stuff on the lawn, they never mow the lawn, they get in high-volume cursing matches at each other, they raised pitbulls for a while, and they've had child protective services called on them a few times. How they ended up in this neighborhood, we'll never know. They're mean and nasty, to boot. Come to find out, he'd stayed through the storm and had no intention of leaving. He'd been using the side of my parents' house as his toilet. You could see the smear down the side of the house where he must have leaned against the wall and released. He was the only person in the neighborhood the whole time. It could only have been him.

A few nice neighbors stopped by to check on their homes. The people whose neighbor's tree fell on their house came home and cried. Our nice nextdoor neighbors stopped by. We mentioned the feces. We saw more neighbors. Everyone knew. Word had spread. We never mentioned a suspect, but everyone figured it out. The nice neighbor actually confronted him about it a few days later, and he told my parents he'd "cleaned up their yard." About half of the feces piles were gone. So what does that tell you?

The fence was down in most of the backyard. The neighbors behind us lost their gazebo. My brother climbed on the roof and took pictures of the missing shingles.

After we'd satisfied ourselves with a walk-through, we started the clean-up. We had to leave the wet carpet for the insurance guy. But the fridges...those were our immediate problems. My dad and Geoff set out to clean the one in the garage first. They said it smelled, but they would be okay with it. We learned from CSI: that you are supposed to wear a face mask with Vick's VapoRub in it to mask the decomp smells. Never thought that random trivia would come in handy.

The Parish asked everyone to unwrap the food and bury it in the yard. Had they not had to unwrap it, everything would have been okay. I was on the phone with Carol, letting her know how traffic was so that her parents could decide whether or not to come in, when Geoff suddenly came tearing out of the garage. He doubled over in the yard, screaming "I'm gonna fucking vomit!" over and over again. With my mom standing right next to him. My dad lumbered out of the garage after him, dry heaving into his face mask. Neither actually vomited. It wasn't funny at the time, but it's pretty hysterical, in retrospect.

When they composed themselves, they explained that they'd found some venison sausage my dad's mechanic had made the last time he'd been hunting. The venison did them in. Geoff refused to do any more fridge work on the basis that his stomach was churning. Mom went in and helped Dad with the kitchen fridge while we bleached the garage fridge. Dad dry heaved several more times. The green chicken did him in. He decided to go vegetarian right then and there. He reneged on that proclamation later on.

We went into the yard and dug a second back hole. Dad and Geoff dug the first food grave, then I dug the second by myself. I was very proud of myself for that one. We buried the last of the food and finished the fridge.

Satisfied that we had done all we could, Geoff and I went to Mom's car. We were heading over to check on Geoff's house in Old Metairie. We opened the car. Have you ever smelled a flood car? That's a pleasant odor. There was about 3 inches of water in the back footwells. Dad ripped up the back of the carpet and pulled the drain. Back in '95, there was a random flood on May 8, and he took care of 100 flood cars at work. The man is a pro. Geoff and I drove with the windows down.

After a hurricane, the weather is usually cooler. Noticeably so. So this was fine. It was odd, though. It was September. Early September. And most of the vegetation was missing or dead. Trees were bare. It looked like mid-November in New Orleans.

We gawked at the broken buildings, the shattered lives, the crippled landscape. We went down Bonnabel to Metairie Road. It seemed okay. We turned on his street. Trees were down everywhere. A large one broke a brick fence at the entrance to the street. We drove in as far as we could. Geoff donned his waders and walked down the street. He ran into my mom's cousin Timmy, who was unloading pirogues at his father-in-law's house. We didn't know it, but he lived down the street from Geoff. They were planning on paddling across the railroad tracks to check on Timmy's house. They unloaded the boats and found a red kayak floating by. They snagged it, Timmy leant Geoff an oar, and Geoff paddled up his street to check on his house. He came back in decent spirits. Despite the smelly water that was between 3 and 4 feet deep, flooding every house on his block, his house was fine. It's an old shotgun double, and it was raised about 4 feet off the ground. They lost some things in their garage, his roommate Alex lost his car, and their neighbor, our cousin-in-law, Kurt, lost his car as well. But everything in it, save for the fridge, was fine. A miracle. When they went back for good, they were the only people on their block for a good long while.

That weekend, Mark and his father decided to journey into New Orleans using his press pass from WWL to rescue his car from the New Orleans Center parking garage. They got up early in the morning. I didn't hear from them for a while.

Stay tuned for Part 8: Mark and Loy's Bogus Journey.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

More pictures...a real post will come soon...

Went back to Lakeview to begin the arduous task of emptying the house. We have to throw everything on the curb so the landlord may gut and sell the property. Even if we wanted to go back, we can't. In the meantime, here are pictures of 2 months after Katrina hit.

This is my new car. They took mine the other day. Notice I opted for mini-SUV in order to make it through flood waters and to pack more stuff to evacuate next year.

The trash heap on the beautiful walking track a block from my house between Pontchartrain Blvd. and West End Blvd. It's about 4 stories high.

More of the heap.


I think the look on Mom's face says it all.

This was in the parking lot of my dad's BP station. Must have floated out of MeMe's Market or B&B Pharmacy. It says "Warm wishes to the whole family at Thanksgiving..."

The estimate to clear out MeMe's is $140,000. They deemed it too expensive. The food and other groceries are still rotting inside. Nothing has been removed. The flies are atrocious, and the stench....ugh.

Inside Dad's station, which they have finished gutting. They've put up the new studs and are rolling along. Estimate on electricity returning to Lakeview? 6-8 months. Estimate on Dad being ready to reopen? 2 months.

This is a door hidden by a pegboard. Amazing what you discover when you gut an old building.

The bay. They towed the Yukon out, but the Porsche remains.

Poor Porsche.

A hole in the wall reveals the gutted Ace Hardware Store next to the station.

From the storage area to the front. See how slimy the windows are? They cleaned them today, but you can't even tell that's Geoff's red Corolla out there.

These clipboards stayed in place.

View from the storage area into the bay.

Mom and Alicia walking towards the storage and office area from the C-store area.

Alicia in awe of my dad's progress.

On Fleur de Lis, near where the levee breached.

Looking from Fleur de Lis to Bellaire near the breach. It's a small shot, but in either this picture or the next, there is a house in the middle of the road at the end of the block where the breach shoved it.

See above caption

The little park on Fleur de Lis, also near the breach.

More of the park.

The last photo of The Mirthmobile.

Broken front window of my house.

Broken bedroom window.

Broken guest room window.

Broken den window.

The fuse box cover is missing, and everythign is rusted through.