Katrina Relief Trip, Day 2

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October 14th 2005
Published: October 18th 2005
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There were boats on dry land, among other things...

Second day of Hurricane Katrina relief/cleanup. I was hammering all day. We were taking plaster off walls of a few rooms in the stadium that the Salvation Army wants to turn into some form of bedrooms. We used sledgehammers and pickaxes and hammers all day.

We also took a walk midday. Talked to some people. Went down a road by the stadium. (Today, I realized the stadium lights at the end of the field have been blown to an angle.)

These are the things I saw spraypainted on houses/signs on houses: "Katrina Sucks," "Surviving Katrina: Priceless," Tresspassers will be shot," "Looters will be shot," "No flooding," Insurance company names "State Farm," "Nationwide," others, addresses, phone numbers, family names, and the strange markings of the national guard, numbers of dead, animals found, etc.

Things on the street: mattresses, chairs, a car smashed under house debris, a stuffed animal in a tree, trees overturned, houses smashed to pieces, houses gone but for the front steps, a pile of photos and photos from a wallet (found blowing around amongst the rubble, picked up by a girl, and put on the people's front step).

A couple cleaning up their

House spraypainted with address (a smart thing, because no one knew where their houses might end up) Photo courtesy of Rose Coady
mother's yard (the woman cleaning grew up at a house on that property that was demolished in a previous hurricane. The chains from her childhood sweing still hanging from a nearby oak). There was a glass teacup crushed at my feet (white, only a shard). All that was left of the house was the floor. The man, an engineer, said he'd designed the house to be hurricane resistant. The house was totally wiped out. Along the edges of the remaining foundation, the couple had piled what belongings they had recovered-- a figurine, a memento.

The closer we got to the coast the more stuff was destroyed, the more houses we saw only the front steps. One house (or part of one) had been thrown somehow and was resting an an angle atop a large pile of debris. A van had its windows crushed in in front of a house.

We walked from the stadium to the coast. These are the things I saw on the beach:
--A resort hotel. The first two floors were wiped out.
--Next door. Houses. Gone.
--Trees overturned.
--Docks with only posts left.
--Hard Rock Cafe a few blocks away. Intact.
--White, soft sand.
Amid the RubbleAmid the RubbleAmid the Rubble

Part of a house amid the rubble Photo courtesy of Rose Coady

--A chair. Overturned.
--A mini fridge or and A/C unit.
--A trash can.
--Garbage-- beer cans, bottles.
--More that I cannot remember.

These are the things I saw walking back:
--Tents set up in front of/behind houses.
--Trailers (many were donated)
--A man puking out a window (did he find spoiled food?)
--A woman who gave us an American flag.
--Shreds of an American flag pulled from rubble.
--The Salvation Army canteen (it passed us)
--A man who wanted to know who would fix his fence.

I can't remember things as well today. I just know there was so much rubble and destruction I could almost not look anymore. I almost cried seeing more and more and more rubble and lumber and things. A neglige hanging from a bush in front of a house. Black. Lacey. I wondered who wore it and what she bought it for. Broken bikes. Cars with refrigerators on top them (likely from cleaning out rather than the storm's forces). Tires ruined. A shawl on the street. American flags hung on a houses. A smiley face flag hung on a house (post-storm, I presume) beside the American flag.

We go back tomorrow.
Bridges without roadsBridges without roadsBridges without roads

Photo courtesy of Rose Coady
I am tired, but it is too soon to leave. Too soon. There is too much work to still be done.

We clean out houses tomorrow. What will that be? And when will I come back, when will I volunteer here again? There is a need. Will I answer? I've already done some-- a drop in a bucket.

More work tomorrow. I look forward to it.

Additional photos below
Photos: 5, Displayed: 5


Steeples without ChurchesSteeples without Churches
Steeples without Churches

Photo courtesy of Rose Coady

23rd November 2005

Thank you!

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