I’m at 90% now, healthwise. Being held back from the shelter by Gina, since she rightly points out that if I go down there again without a rock-solid immune system, I’ll have a relapse and then I’ll be sick for ACL, which would break Cassidy’s heart since we have been planning this father-daughter rock-fest weekend for a year.
Work, believe it or not, has eased up a little.
Bill and Mark are back at the Metairie house this week. The water has receded, but there is a fast-growing field of mold extending about a foot above the high water mark. They spent yesterday ripping out sheetrock trying to get a jump on some demolition contractors that are going to pull apart the ground floor to see if the house needs to be razed or if they can just redo the bottom story. Mold is bad, though.
Austin CERT sent us all an email about a hiring frenzy that FEMA is going through, looking for temporary employees with expertise in a variety of fields, including architecture and historic preservation. Gina went ahead and sent them an application. We’re thinking creatively right now…if the money and travel reimbursement are enough to make months away from the family worthwhile, then this would satisfy Gina’s urge to get in there and contribute to the rebuilding while at the same time giving her a lay of the land and a feel for whether moving back there is a good idea for the family. Meanwhile, I wait for people to start posting actual job ads at places like Tulane and Loyola. A relaxing instructor position in a Comp Sci department almost sounds like a vacation right now.
I found a great blog of a guy who rode out the storm in New Orleans, with lots of pictures of areas where the damage isn’t bad at all. Major areas of the city are close to perfectly habitable. The idea that the whole city is a wasteland that the nation should consider abandoning defies the reality on the ground.
Seriously, to all residents of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes whose zip codes have been selected… You are really not going to notice a difference from when you evacuated… other than no crime, roadblocks, soldiers with machine guns walking around, and having to go to the Convention Center (Orleans Parish only) for maybe a week until the Winn-Dixie’s are open; everything physically is almost normal. The only thing we’re missing is people, the community.
Seriously again, large parts of Jeff Parish are already back online. The streets are clean, the neighborhoods safe and everything is under control. Heck you can even go buy a car now if you want. Orleans is NOT far behind.
Moreover, despite the losses, there are still some MAJOR misconceptions about what has happened down here. I drove throughout Uptown and the Garden District again today, and then I ventured my furthest downriver to date. I hit the CBD, Marigny and the French Quarter. In all areas, yet again I was shocked by the lack of damage and looting. I expected rampant lawlessness and trashing of buildings. The L.A. riots were probably much worse. The real looting happened on Canal St. and at several bars – seeking cash from the video poker machines. I can’t say it enough, it is not what I understood as portrayed by the national media.
Click through to Gulfsails to see heartening pictures of the Marigny and Commander’s Palace and other bright spots.