Monday, October 03, 2005

Lundi Lundi Lundi...

Compare my story with those not so fortunate. You'll get an idea of the enormous and almost overwhelming job facing ALL areas affected by this year's hurricane born devestation.

Remember: My house is in Old Jefferson which is right outside Riverbend between River Road and Jefferson Hyw. Our area took on next to no water. The damage came mostly from wind and looters/arsonists and downed trees. Jefferson has been open a week. So, what I saw was after considerable clean up. Holy crap.

A tree was in the middle of the Jefferson playground, Dot's Diner had a blue roof, the Circle K and St. Vincient Du Paul store on Jefferson had been looted with all windows smashed. The daquiri shop and BJ's Pawn shop had been burned to the ground but the Frost Stop mug and it's building (I forget the biz's name now) were both looking good. Signs were down everywhere. Fridges were taped and set on the curbs one right after the other. With spray painted warnings of DO NOT OPEN and UNTOUCHED LUCKY & BLESSED. Fences and garage roofs smashed in. Plywood and cardboard signs boasted what businesses were open since a lot of their signage was destroyed. The overall diagnosis looks good.

Our neighborhood was in full swing with a lot of activity and the usual "Hi ya'll! How'd you do through the storm?"

Oustisde our house looked normal and yet abandoned with it's still boarded windows. Except for a few lost shingles there was absolutley no damage at all. Even in the overgrown backyard my fruit trees were holding tight to their still green crop. The rosebushes didn't do as well but they are some tough broads and will surely rebound in a season or two. The siding is covered with this weird green-gray silt but all else seemed in good shape.

Inside was beyond strange. When my guy flipped the breakers it burst to life. The cable was even on and the air conditioner started without a hitch. A closer look showed the real mess. Coffee cups left on the table in the rush to get on the road to Lacombe were covered in bugs and there was a wierd slime on the underside of the couch. Flies were buzzing all over. The fridge which had just been filled with a week's worth of groceries was covered in maggot casings. All electronics were fine and so were our books. (I feel way too lucky on both counts.) Everything else was covered in musty mix of dust and mildew. Roaches had moved in quick and were everywhere. There was a thick smell that I can only describe as pure rot. Unreal.

Things took a wierd turn when we went into the girl's room expecting to find "Courtney" the fish belly up. Instead the dang thing is alive! Not just alive but he and his sucker-fish roomie are in a spotless tank and I swear bigger than when we left. How? I have no clue. With no oxygen (his plants are faux) a feeder rock that was only supposed to last for two weeks (we've been gone a month) they've been running on sheer luck. Looking at him swimming around oblivious to his own peril or importance and hearing the t.v. in my room blaring out Dora The Explorer I suddenly felt like a ghost in my own home. Everything seemed so normal and yet decomposed at the same time.

That was when my guy and I took a moment to have a nice freak-out as every emotion ran to the surface sharp and raw. We are both quite objective but this was just too much to take. Our feelings shadowed logic and our sense of reason. He and I are a good team though and we both got the other through. We once again weighed our options and again discussed our decision to relocate.

In the end deciding to stay in Georgia at least for the next year or two won out as our more responsible path. Facts just can't be argued with and for us it all boiled down to where our children will be happiest for the time being. We began the painful motions of packing.

Seeing that much mess in an area considered almost unscathed made me ache to think of what NOLA and the neglected places like Pearlington Mississippi were going through. You may think "it's bad," but you're wrong. Because it's way worse than you know. Help and kindness is going to be needed for a long long time. Support those going back and please try to understand those who choose to leave. It's a hard choice to make either way.

Okay, I have to take a break from thinking about this and clear my head a bit. I've got a conga player to check on , boxes to unpack and, some red beans that need cooking.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Glad everything seems almost OK, hopefully things will get back in order.

11:34 AM  
Blogger cherrybones said...

go fishies!! i cant believe they were still alive! im glad you were able to go back and get your stuff, that had to have been so danm hard. i cant even imagine it.
xoxo

8:51 PM  
Blogger Vee said...

I am so glad to hear that your house fared well. I know it had to be a tough decision to move away from such a great city, but you know what's best for your family.

Can you believe how bad it still looks after a month? The debris is unbelievable! My husband said it looked much worse when he came back the week after Katrina hit. I can't even imagine what he saw and how things could be worse than this.

Let me know if there is anything I can do and that goes for after you leave the city.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Harmony St. Charles said...

Blue- CherryBones-& Vee:
Hey ya'll! We're doing better everyday. I'm still overwhelmed by the massive amount of cleanup everyone faces. It just boggles the brain.

Vee- How did your place do? Okay, I hope. I'm putting some goodies in the mail this week to the address you sent so be on the look out!

7:06 AM  

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