Friday, September 7, 2012

Storm recovery continues

Baking soda is in short supply on grocery store shelves across New Orleans. You might think that everyone was baking, but no - their refrigerators stink from whatever was in there when the power went out.

My street is still impassable with a fallen tree. I've got to zigzag across the neighborhood to get in and out. And, of course, there are the usual potholes. At least the downed power lines have been removed.

I see the little cafe has reopened for business. I got my car detailed as a sign to myself that everything is going to be okay. It was quite a job and worth every cent. I took it to a privately owned carwash in Central City, so hopefully, the money will go back into the hands of people in real need. I noticed, sitting alone in the office waiting for my car, that the owner, named Nemo, had a very impressive gun to protect the cashbox. He said he had been on track to be a pro football player until he was injured. He made his team work on my car an extra 20 minutes to get it spic-and-span.

The traffic lights weren't all working a couple of days ago, creating logjams at every intersection. Almost everyone is respectful and careful, however, knowing a terrible collision could result if we don't honor the rules. That means it takes a long time to drive across town. I totally forgot to renew my brake tag, which expired on the last day of August, but I wasn't the only one. I got a break because of the storm and was charged only a $2 late fee instead of $4.

Monday, I helped gut the home of an 80-year-old couple who lived in LaPlace, 45 minutes west of here. LaPlace never flooded before, so residents thought they were safe. The couple had lost their home in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood after Katrina. Gentilly had never flooded before either. Folks from a church pulled down sheetrock and ripped out fiberglass insulation. The guys yanked the cabinets out of the walls. The mold was only a little bit nasty with the windows and doors open. By the time we left, the entire household contents were in the yard. I hate to think where it will end up.

We think the city of New Orleans now has levees that work, but the outlying areas don't.

I'd recently read a story about Haiti's earthquake victims. Through all this inconvenience, I couldn't stop thinking about the poor Haitians who get hit almost every time. They can barely rebuild before the next one comes. I guess that's why they practice voodoo.

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