It's been three days since my last update. I'll bet you thought I forgot about you. Sorry about that, but, of course, this is a good thing. Less frequent updates means our lives are settling in a bit, and there is less to report. There is no longer something new happening every time I turn around. There is still plenty to do, but I need to get my MacSpeech work done as well if I want to continue to have some money coming in.
After 42 days away from home, one night in our house, two more days on the road to pick up Adam and Megan, and then two nights in our house, Janis is off again for 10 days, doing some work for MacSpeech in New Hampshire. When she gets back, things will be that much more improved. The trash and debris are almost gone from our street, and we read online that they are actually picking up refrigerators not too far from our house. Once they get all the refrigerators out, maybe S.C. Johnson & Son could make a plug-in the size of the Superdome to freshen up the place a bit.
Before Katrina I was having some work done on the motor for my boat, and had saved up almost enough for a new trolling motor. We were also getting closer to buying a new Queen size bed and having the frame made for us by Glen Cozzi. Like magic, Katrina transformed the boat motors into a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Queen size bed into a refrigerator. Here are pictures:
My repaired boat motor and new trolling motor
Our new Queen size bed and hand-made frame.
The Jeep has been a true life saver, and I want to once again thank Janis' sister and her husband for selling it to us. The refrigerator is a thing of beauty. I thought about filling it full of beer before taking the picture, just as a joke, but I honestly don't have any room to store the beer after the picture was taken (and no, drinking it is not an option too much work to do).
Every day we are making a little more progress toward normalcy. Yesterday I finally got the Jeep insured (couldn't do it until the insurance agent returned to town so they could inspect it). On Tuesday next week I'll spend most of the day waiting in line to get it registered and get Loisiana license plates. The fridge actually has real food in it, and we are starting to cook some meals at home. Our gas is still off, so we are cooking on an electric "dorm style" burner for now. We are thinking of having one of our monthly Thursday night cookouts next week to provide yet another sign of normalcy for our friends who returned to New Orleans.
As I am writing this, I am sitting in Steve Edwards' home waiting for the insurance adjuster. His house escaped major damage, but there was about a foot of water in the lower level and mold is everywhere down there. Most of the family lived upstairs, but one of the kids had her room down there. Cary and I moved the computers upstairs just to be safe, and were relieved to see that they both booted up just fine. The entire lower level will need to be gutted out, I am pretty sure. But other than that, the house is quite livable now, with only a refrigerator in desparate need of being permanently relieved of its duties.
I keep hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel of tasks ahead of us, and perhaps I have caught a glimpse of just that. Right now there is not a lot of room to move around in our house. We have what we could salvage from Cary's house, plus what we took out of Adam's house when he wasn't sure if they were coming back. I am hoping to get Adam's stuff out later today, and then we hope to have room to clear our stuff out of the upstairs bedroom so Cary and Andrea will have a place for their stuff. We figure the entire process will take a few days, but maybe by the end of next week I can finally spend most of my hours getting caught up with my MacSpeech work.
I've added a Lessons Learned page to the site, which is really my personal take on what one needs to do to survive one of these things with the least amount of dissruption to their lives. It is divided into several sections, covering overall preparedness, riding out the storm (and why you shouldn't), specific preparedness, and evacuation.
New Orleans will always have its share of bizarre sights and tales. Over time, there will be many unique "Katrina" tales of things that happened that could only have originated in New Orleans. One of these is the rather bizarre sighting of an abandoned limousine, blocking a street near the Walmart that was looted:
Limo blocking street near Walmart
This is on one of the routes we typically take home from being across the river. Even more bizarre is this shot:
The sign says "build a Walmart and we will burn it down."
To be fair, the sign was there before the limo. In fact, the sign was there before the Walmart. Someone put it up when they first announced the Walmart would be built. To my knowledge, no one has actually tried to burn it down. Even more amazing is that the Walmart folks just let the sign sit there untouched for the past two years!
So how did the limo get there? What did it hit to get its front end all smashed in? Better yet, why hasn't someone moved it? Like so much that adds to the quaintness of New Orleans, we will probably never know.
- Best of all news! Coop got a phone call from Brian Davenport the other day. He and his wife went to Marietta, Georgia, where his wife has family. He hasn't found a job yet, but he says they are happy there and will not be coming back to New Orleans.
- I spoke with Matt Gone the other day. It sounds like he is getting anxious to come back. Having completed his body suit by getting his face tattooed, he, too, wants to get back on track with his life and introduce some semblance of normalcy. Although, Matt's idea of normal and yours or mine are entirely different things. Anyway, he told me he will probably return to New Orleans as soon as his eyelids heal. In all the writing I have done, putting the word "heal" after "eyelids" is something I can honestly say never occurred to me would happen.
- Glen Cozzi and Peter Lynch are going into business together. They will be offering their services as carpenters in the rebuilding effort. There is definitely no shortage of work in that area, and won't be for some time to come. I wish them nothing but success!
- Cheryl reported that she left the city during pouring rain in the back of a pickup truck with 8 other people. I am looking forward to hearing the details.
I published updates on a few other people on the People page.
- The New Orleans City Council has passed a resolution asking the Governor sign an executive order extending Daylight Savings Time for Orleans Parish indefinitely to provide more daylight hours for the salvage and recovery operations. I'm all for it. It gets light here about 6:30 AM. As primarily a night person, I would prefer not to have light coming in my bedroom window at 5:30 AM.
- The eastbound lanes of the I-10 Twin Spans were opened at 3PM today, with one lane of traffic in each direction. The westbound lanes were more severely damaged and won't be repaired until mid-January. According to an article on nola.com, project supervisor John Horn said crews had to reposition 171 of the eastbound bridge's 433 sections that shifted up to 5 feet but remained atop support pilings. Another 39 sections that crashed into the lake were replaced with undamaged ones from the westbound bridge. The project was completed 15 days early and underbudget, earning the construction firm a $1.1 milliion bonus.
- French Quarter bar owners are rebelling. They say they will remain open tonight past the 12 Midnight curfew until shut down by police. Some say if the police shut them down, they will close their business until the curfew is lifted. Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson (mother of actress Patricia Clarkson) introduced a resolution that would extend curfew to 2AM for the French Quarter only, as a compromise measure. It turns out to be a moot point, as local officials have bowed to pressure and the curfew is now 2AM to 6AM for all the "open" zip codes, starting tonight.
- Up to 40% of former New Orleans residents say they are not returning. That translates to 50,000 households. You can read the entire article here.
Of the 69 individuals listed on the People page, 47 are known to be coming back, 11 are definitely not, and 11 are either unknown or undecided. That's 68% coming back, 16% not and 16% unknown or undecided. If we look at households instead of individuals, the numbers change a little. There are 51 households represented by the 69 people on the People page. 38 are coming back, with 7 defintiely not, and 6 undecided or unknown. That's almost 75% coming back.
- Cafe' Du Monde, famous for it's Beignets and Café au lait, will re-open on Wednesday at 6AM, after the longest break in its 153 year history. Its owners took advantage of the closing to upgrade some of its equipment.
- WWL-TV toured Fats Domino's home, which is located in the lower 9th ward. The pictures are heart-breaking all the more because he chose to live near where he grew up, and now he has lost so much of what he has collected over the years. You can view photos here.
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