Sunday, September 25, 2005.
1:15 PM - Just got back from helping Billy tarp his roof. I brought the ladder and some stuff and acted as the ground crew while Billy and his dad got on the roof. I had the hard job, because I had to carry everything up the ladder... :P
When we were almost done, he looks at it and says, "Well that looks better." I said, "Yeah, I think that'll do. It's gonna leak a little, but it'll be manageable with pans and such in the attic."
"I hope so."
Then he got that look he gets and says with a grin, "MY! How things have changed! We've gone from having a good roof to, 'As long as it don't leak too much!'"
Yep. How things change...
We got the tarps on. Looks good, but I didn't bring my camera. Now I've got to go put my vent caps back on, get Andrea's Element set back up to carry the kids. Then I've got to get my car ready for work tomorrow. Lots to do...
Unfortunately, this is about the state most folks in St. Bernard are in...
Well it has been over three weeks, and I am still living in Baton Rouge, LA. Our home is in St. Bernard., LA. Now after being flooded by one hurricane and having a oil spill over our home, it is flooded again by another hurricane.
We can not go home, we have no jobs and have gotten little help. Bonnie and I have gotten $150. each from the state in food stamps and I have gotten three bottles of water for the RED CROSS, while waiting in line 4 hours at the food stamp office. We can not reach the Red Cross for any other help, we call and call and call........ And we have talked to other people displaced by the storm and they have not gotten any help from the Red Cross. We call and call both day and night but can not reach anyone. So, it looks like if you are not in a shelter you are not getting help.
Bonnie and I are staying with her sister, and her sister's church have given us a lot of food so we are not going hungry.
We have our cloths, a computer and a car. The house is insured, my truck and Scooter are not, and all else - gone.
Well, I went out and put my roof vent cap back on. While I was up there I tacked the asphalt paper that was coming loose. Easy as pie. Then I put Andrea's Element back together so that she can carry the kids, and then I cleaned up in the yard. In the middle, I forgot to put sunscreen on, and I wasn't wearing much so I've got a little sunburn. I feel woozy. Andrea rubbed some goo all over me, and now I not only feel woozy, I feel sticky. Fortunately, cold root beer makes it all better.
I'm slated to go back to work tomorrow, and I'm not even sure where to begin...
The looting, etc. was highly exaggerated. There were some problems around the shelters the first few days, but most of the troublemakers have either been arrested or have calmed down since the first week. Other than the stories you heard in the first few days, we have had minimal problems with people in the shelters. The main thing you hear people complaining about is the traffic and the crowds everywhere you go. That is not shelter residents causing that, but people who are staying with friends and family.
It is racism that causes the comments you hear. Racism is alive and strong in the south. We have had many problems in our shelters that have been caused by the racism of the facility owners and of the people living and working around the shelters. If you have a shelter of 600 and it is 95% black, then people just assume certain things about the people. Most of the time their assumptions are far from the truth. Our shelters are full of families. Many adults are looking for (or already have) jobs and the kids are going to school. There are exceptions, but they are not the rule like people seem to think.
And another from Ashlee:
I have also found that not everybody who lives in the 'ghetto' are drug addicts and thugs. My job takes me into some hard neighborhoods. I met some of the kindest, strongest people in those neighborhoods. Many of them can't afford to live anywhere else or, more often than not, don't know anything outside that neighborhood. They were raised on the same street that their parents and grandparents grew up. That does not automatically make them thugs. People who judge people in low income neighborhoods have not spent enough time in those neighborhoods.
I see the same thing in the shelters. We have one shelter in particular where we get a call from the staff that manage the facility (not the shelter staff, the facility itself). They are constantly asking for more security, threatening to close the shelter, saying that people's lives are threatened, etc. Each time we get these calls, we go over and see what is going on. We arrive and find out that someone had an argument or something basic like that. We have actually had less problems at that shelter than most of the other ones. The managers of the facility just see lots of black people from low income neighborhoods and make assumptions. The reality is far from that. Most of the people in the shelter are families and other people just trying to make it day by day.
My mom and dad came home this evening. They made it back from Arkansas.
Well, we evacuated Sunday, August 28, and returned home Wednesday, September 21. We were away from home 24 days. That would have been a heck of a vacation under different circumstances... Tomorrow I return to work. Monday, September 26. I haven't been to work for 30 days, and I won't actually draw a paycheck until Tuesday, October 4. The entire month of September is a total wash.
I haven't really had time to stop and think about how I feel about all of this. Today is the first day since the storm that was almost normal. Well, except for the fact that I had to help Billy tarp his roof, fix the patch on mine, and clear debris from the yard... Sundays are usually days that I get knick-knack stuff done, though, and that's what I did all day. My in-laws are still living with us, and that has actually been really nice. We like them a lot, and we all get along well. It's like they've always been here, and I'm pretty glad to have them.
So, now that I've got a quiet moment here at the end of the day, I'm tired. Really tired. That bone-weary kind of thing where you need a few days of sleep, a pizza, and half a case of root beer to really feel better. At least I'm ahead of the game on the root beer thing...
I'm thankful. I've been checking every step of the way, and given the recent unpleasantness of Katrina/Rita (Katrita?) I've done really well. My immediate family has done really well. Most of our extended family has done really well. Almost all of my friends have done really well. Most of us have livable homes, jobs we can return to in the short and long terms, and nobody we know died. Nobody we know was even seriously injured. I'd say that none of us was ever in any true danger, except that Jeff stayed and played with some hoodlums...
I'm ecstatic with the performance of Paul Johnson, the Mayor of Harahan. I'm thrilled with the performance of the Harahan Police Department. I'm happy with Jefferson Parish Sherrif Harry Lee, and all of his officers. I'm happy with the State Police. I'm happy with 90% of what my parish government has done. I'm not terribly thrilled with Aaron Broussard's "leadership", but at least he was (and is) communicative and kept everyone informed during his little drama.
I have learned several lessons that I need to ponder on for awhile. I've definitely changed my outlook on a few things. As time goes on I intend to compile some of that into a document and see where it takes me.
I'm going to bed now, but I'll leave you with some pictures.
I thought this one was really funny. The part that isn't funny is that you can see the water line on the house - about 18 inches of water in there... The Nolands live in Slidell. At least they used to...
You REALLY don't want to open that...
Another of our favorite restaurants. Byblos Mediterranean.
Piggy taking a nap? I'm pretty sure that's in front of Rosedale Mall in Metairie.
There are piles of trash like this up and down the streets in Metairie. Very common. Trash pickup isn't what it used to be. Of course, picking up 80 million tons of trash is kind of a big job...and that's only the first step...