Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What it's like around here these days

The New Orleans Port was opened today to let in ships with aid supplies, and three planes departed from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. If air and water tests come back okay, residents of uptown and the French Quarter may get to come into the city as early as Monday. There is a plan to convert the New Orleans Convention Center into a giant temporary mall, with Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. selling supplies.

Pet rescuers continue to rescue animals, but residents are not permitted to come and get their pets. At this point, I do not know who is responsible for this outrage--there are simply too many rumors.

This morning, a meeting was scheduled between FEMA and the residents of Slidell. FEMA didn't show up. I was in Mandeville this afternoon, at the location of tomorrow's sceduled FEMA meeting, so I warned them not to get their hopes up.

Mayor Ray "Mr. Bush did all he could" Nagin is still confusing Jesus's death with soldiers on horseback; he continues to talk about how the "calvary" didn't come. When he isn't talking about that, he's talking about how poor George W. Bush couldn't have possibly known that a Category 5 hurricane was headed our way. Since everyone else in the United States--and most of the world--knew, it's clear we have to do something about getting George and Laura a new television set. Bush, says Nagin, just didn't have the right people telling him that we were headed for the nation's biggest natural disaster in ages. Get them all new TV's, I say.

A reporter from CBS went to one town in Louisiana where the houses had been blown into each other in groups of a dozen or so. One man searched for forty minutes for his house, and finally found a piece of it a quarter of a mile from where it used to be.

I tried to file for Disaster Unemployment Insurance online, and wound up wanting to put an axe through my computer screen, so today--assuming getting through by phone was next to impossible--I went to the Louisiana Department of Labor office in my city (DUI is a FEMA benefit, but you don't file a FEMA claim for it). The office was closed, and a sign instructed me to go to the next town's community center. I crept through traffic and finally got there, where I was relieved to find very nice, very efficient DOL staff available. The woman who helped me said she was supposed to have been laid off around the time Katrina hit, but now she was needed for a few more months.

On my way home (to make an appointment to have the car place check out my malfunctioning air conditioner), I stopped at a major shopping area on the main drag. All across the parking lot were huge tents, set up to help the suddenly homeless, or those without food and water. Behind the tents, a couple of stores were open, and people were drinking coffee and buying office supplies. Helicopters flew overhead. These were literally parallel worlds, whose inhabitants were on their respective sides by the luck of the draw.


Thanks for keeping us posted, Diane. I hope things return to normal (or better!) more quickly than we expect. Though the circumstances are hard, this slice of life is beautiful.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:00 PM  

We're okay. Work has begun on the house; it will take a while to get it all done, and we have less to do than a whole lot of people. I don't have much work, but that will come back, too.

Roxie and Velma, of course, are happy to be home, and got right back to their old routine. They were really great evacuees, I have to say.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  

It's unfortunate that Walmart can't donate supplies, rather than sell them to people with nothing, given their deep pockets.

By Blogger BlondebutBright, at 8:06 AM  

Walmart has donated a lot--2,500 trailer loads of water and emergency supplies, 18 vacant facilities, 150 computers, many free products, and $17 million cash. I can't stand them, but in this case, they have been extremely responsive--much more so than the government.

By Blogger Diane, at 10:37 AM  

The numbers are impressive. Maybe I should have said "...Walmart can't donate (more) supplies."

So they've given away a lot, but considering the devastation, won't they profit much more by turning the cash register on now - more than if there was no tragedy?

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