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A Year Later...

(Dan, feel free to remove this if it's inappropriate...)

It was a year ago I lost my sister. Not forever, but for 3 long days. She's in New Orleans. Still. She called us the day before Katrina hit and said she was going to wait and see. That morning her neighbors called and said "let's get outta here." She grabbed her cat, a few changes of clothes, and left behind her house, her valuables, her memories.

She called my other sister and said she was leaving. Then nothing for 3 days. We tried to track her down, but no luck.

Finally, she called from Alabama, the first place they could stop, get a motel room and find a working phone. They were fine, exhausted, tired and dirty. But they were safe.

She finally made it to D.C. where my brother-in-law picked her up and brought her to NYC where she stayed with my sister for a month and a half.

She didn't have any idea as to the state of her house. She tried everything to find out, but no luck. Finally, Google Earth put up some fresh photos of the Katrina wake...

Zooming in, we found her house, car still sitting in the driveway. The water was lapping the street a block and a half away. So, at least, she was dry, but was it looted, blown out, or damaged?

When she returned, in October, it was a scene of utter devastation, total destruction, total chaos. Her house survived, a chimney gone, a tree blown over and some shingles. The refrigerator was approaching the Andromeda Strain... She was one of the few lucky ones.

Over the weeks, she got back electricity, water and telephone. And found a job. But precious little returned to normal, or has returned to normal.

It's a year later. Here are her words from about a month ago. Count your blessings. And just because it's not front page, doesn't mean it's over....

"Well, I haven't written in a while so here goes. Things haven't changed much at all. Our Mayor was just at the exiled Essence Festival in Texas where he stated that New Orleans was ahead of schedule on recovery and had 98% of City services up and running.
In reality we are the only Parish without a recovery plan on which hinges the money from the Feds. In his campaign he talked about how he would make a plan for his first 100 days in office this term. We are still waiting! I read that he was planning on presenting it layer in July, fifty days into his new term.
The streets are full of debris and garbage. There are some 100,000 muck encrusted flooded cars on the streets and seven miles of them are under the interstate overpass in the middle of the city. The electricity still goes off on a regular basis, which is worse now that we need the air conditioning, than it was in winter when you could just put on more socks. We are losing some eighty five million gallons of water a day through underground leeks in the pipes. As a result we have almost no water pressure. FEMA was about to withdraw the two helicopters which they have been using to put out the weekly fires. At the last minute the state stepped in and subsidized the choppers which was essential as we are now burning down. Just two weeks ago as I was getting ready to go to work I turned on the water in the sink only to stand dumbly staring at the tap which produced, NOTHING! Being really stupid these days, I tried turning it off and back on again as if that might change the outcome. But no. No water at all!
We have lost 77% of our primary care doctors,70% of dentists and 98% of psychiatrists. Our suicide rate has tripled and there are no available beds for mental health patients. All of my doctors lost their offices except one and he lost everything he owned. We now have the Military Police and State Troopers to augment New Orleans finest. So it's back to armed men in military vehicles. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're here....

We have had a triumph on the block. After four months of calling we got the dumpster full of garbage from October removed. It smelled really good after nine months in the sun. My lovely cat Sasha has been bringing me at least one rat a week interspersed with the odd mouse. She is very proud.
So, today I broke down and asked my doctor for some antidepressants. I must wait and go back on Mon. They are very busy what with seven of them working out of one office. I think I may actually be a little depressed, although I can't imagine why. I am pretty sure I am the only person I know around here who isn't already on them.
With love from The Big Easy,
Maggie

Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    I wonder

    how long it will take.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,472
    I saw some recent photos

    A lady from our church took. She spent the Summer sown there working in a church soup kitchen and also helping to muck out houses. To muck out a house means to empty it down to the studs and then spray it with bleach to kill all the mold, to prepare it for being rebuilt someday. It's time consuming hard work. She said one of the most important things a person can do is listen. People need to let someone know about their loss and misery or they will go mad. She says most people are very appreciative if you will pray with them. It's far from over down there. I wish I had time to go help out. WW

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  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    We also have family there

    My Cousin and her husband are in Jefferson Parish. My sister went down there this past weekend for a short visit (7 hour drive).

    My cousin trys to keep upbeat as she helps out other people, but it's not easy.

    As Alex said, most of the trash and debris is still there. The devastation is nearly like the disaster happened a few weeks ago instead of a year ago.

    I'll see if I have any pictures I can post.
  • John R. Hall
    John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
    Stark image

    When I was touring the devastation a couple of months after Katrina I stopped at a home of a former customer of the HVAC contractor I was with. I saw this peace sign laying by itself on the driveway.

    I also included a shot of a home in Bay St. Louis. Let's don't forget that most of these folks had nothing to come home to.
  • Jeff Lawrence_24
    Jeff Lawrence_24 Member Posts: 593
    Pictures

    Here's some pictures taken in Febuary when my sister was there for Mardi Gras.

    The inside shots are supposed to be in Metarie which is right nest door to New Orleans.

    All these pictures are full sized, so the files are BIG.

    On Edit: I have many more and will resize them for posting.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Vote the bums out!

    There's no excuse for this. Thank God this is an election year. Vote the slackers and foot-draggers out!

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  • Jeff Lawrence_24
    Jeff Lawrence_24 Member Posts: 593
    I wish they would have,

    > There's no excuse for this. Thank God this is an

    > election year. Vote the slackers and

    > foot-draggers out!

    >

    > _A

    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=

    > 367&Step=30"_To Learn More About This

    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in

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  • Jeff Lawrence_24
    Jeff Lawrence_24 Member Posts: 593
    I wish they would have,

    The mayor elections for New Orleans are over and Ray Nagin was re-elected over another gent (a former Congressman?).

    Amazing thing is Sis took this picture at Mardi Gras in Febuary. Hizzoner Ray Nagin was out glad handing on Fat Tuesday, too bad he was having pictures taken with tourists instead of residents...

    Again, large file.

    On Edit: oops, wrong picture. This should be the correct one.
  • Stonehouse_5
    Stonehouse_5 Member Posts: 2
    Dead Men...

    Maggie, my sister, lives in Meterie. It's a district that was on its way to being restored as people bought the old properties and did their "sweat" equity and restored them, not to sell but to live in...

    It's technically part of the 9th ward, the poorer district that was hit the hardest. But since Materie is considered the upper 9th ward, there is no plan, no Federal funding for helping the residence restore and rebuild.

    I spoke to Maggie yesterday, the anniversary. I asked how she was holding up. She described it like this, an analogy a friend came up with; "It's like having a dead relative being laid out in your living room. You go to bed at night and in the morning the body is still there. Every night you go to bed every night and every morning it's still there..."

    Basic services, things we take for granted, are third world. Power and water go out, the military patrols the streets, simple services, like the Post Office, are now a game of hid and go seek...

    Her neighborhood has banded together to help each other, to be family, support and aid. All without any help from any form of government. It is, I think, what helps them pass that body in the living room every day...

    Seeing the photograph of the orange search and rescue "X", posted above, reminds me of the buildings around ground zero so long ago.... Those markings stayed up for months, and slowly were removed as the area slowly resumed "normal" life....

    And that anniversary approaches too...
This discussion has been closed.