My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
A Journal (more or less)

4 1/2 Months
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It's four and a half months since Katrina. Part of the reason I went on the Kenya trip was because I was so very very tired of driving down streets lined with the insides of houses.

It's been about six weeks since I've done any extensive driving around town.

Today I was on the south side of town--the part that got storm surge--and saw house after house that had been gutted, and house after house that had been flooded 10 or 11 years ago when we had 24 inches of rain in a day. And these same houses got it again. There are large areas where the majority of the houses have a travel trailer in the front yard, a PODS storage unit in the front yard, or both. The houses without the travel trailers are not occupied.

The big building that housed parish offices has boards across the top corner that had evidently blown off--and no cars in the parking lot. The bank across the street is closed. And of course there are still piles of debris curbside.

On my section of street we don't have house debris (at least not much of it) but we have lots of tree debris. My tree people will be adding to that as they do the final clearing and trimming of my many storm-damaged trees. They are chipping the small stuff and sending the chips into the treed areas, but there are lots of big logs to dispose of. I think are are at least five or six more large trees to come down tomorrow. They are leaning and have begun to pull up their root balls. These trees do not contribute to the shade for my house, so I can "give them up" fairly easily. I'm going to replace the big tall magnolia (that has produced maybe six blossoms in the 30 years we've been here) with about a five/six footer in a nearby location.

But the "recovery" is going very slowly. So many houses took in water--from the ones on the south side of town that were totally inundated to the ones a mile from me that got "only" about a foot of water. But a foot of water in a house means not just the carpet has to be ripped up but the sheetrock has to be replaced. If people were able to get right at it, they may have lost "only" about 2-3 feet of the sheetrock. But, based on the stuff that was out on the curbs, all the furniture was flood-ruined.

And if the occupants were gone more than a day or so, there's the mold thing. I heard one person say they had 15" of water and five feet of mold.

Maybe a year from now most of the stuff will have been picked up from curbside. There are BILLIONS of tons of trash from Katrina. The task of getting it picked up and properly disposed of is herculean.

And it's more than a bit depressing to see how little, relatively speaking, has been accomplished in the roughly six weeks that I've been out of circulation.

And I don't live in New Orleans, which is far worse.

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