September 2005 Archives
I think this may be one of the problems with our home phones. This is on Hwy 1083 about a mile from CrabAppleLane. I donít know who thought it appropriate to prop up that one on the right with a branch but Iím pretty certain that didnít happen during the hurricane. We got a phone bill the other day for the full amount even though we have not had service since August 29. I emailed them asking for an adjustment. They donít do adjustments although a credit of some kind was mentioned in their response to me but the details of it were not specified. After Patsy consulted with one of their representatives, it was decided that we should ďdisconnectĒ our service so that we will not be billed further for services we are not receiving. That action somewhat mystifies me. We were already ďdisconnectedĒ by any definition of that word. It will be reconnected automatically when service is restored according to the representative. I have zero confidence in the phone company about this matter. A friend, who did this exact same thing on their verbal recommendation, was told that it will be February before his service is restored and that disconnecting was not the best thing to do. Hopefully, that information is incorrect but we have an email on record to help us with our case in the event we are being mis-informed. Mis-informed by the phone company? What are the chances?
I went into New Orleans yesterday for the first time since August 26. The part of New Orleans we were going to is called ďNew Orleans EastĒ and it is still restricted. You need a pass, a picture ID, and you must state your business to get past the checkpoint at our exit. Once past the checkpoint, youíre pretty much on your own. You have to be self-sufficient because there are no services of any kind in this area. Thereís also an element of trust because we could have gone anywhere and done anything once we were off the interstate. I suppose the trust has to start somewhere. I imagine there will be a lot more security in place once they open up that area to residents. About the building pictured above: This is one of the buildings on our work campus. Lest you think that it was a poorly-built structure, those are cemented-in cinder blocks that were blown out after the big doors were blown in. Well, thatís how I think it happened. Thatís the I-10 ďhigh riseĒ bridge in the background. It doesnít look all that steep in this image but it is. That bridge goes over the industrial canal and that canal is used for shipping activities of every kind. The bridges have to be high to allow the taller ships in.
A little closer look at the same building. Cinder blocks on the ground.
When time stood still: This is a clock inside that building. Itís on the cinder-block wall pictured just above and I have no idea how it survived. The wind inside that building had to be pretty incredible. It looks like the building lost power at 6:08AM on Monday, August 29. About 50 miles north of this spot, CrabAppleLane lost power about 90 minutes later.
Some other thoughts: I had hoped to look through my desk to see if there was anything I could retrieve. I can only think of one personal thing that Iíd like to have back but I think itís lost forever. I havenít seen or missed any of my work stuff since August 26 but I surely miss having the desk and a work station of my very own. When I opened our office door, I could see in the darkness that Iíd have to traipse through some slippery mud and about two inches of a now highly-concentrated chemical soup that was still in my part of the office. Decided it wasnít worth the trouble.
Some of the sights that I wish I could have photographed: To get to where we were going yesterday, we had to go on I-610. There is a tall wooden fence on both sides some distance off of I-610. That stretch of road is not known to me for flooding. I donít remember ever seeing more than a puddle on it even after a torrential rain. The water line on those wooden fences was at about the five-foot mark. Iíll never forget that. I also saw several strings of 5 to 8 railroad cars on Almonaster that had been pushed 50-60 feet off of their tracks by the storm surge. Iíll never forget that, either.
This is a fraction of just the small stuff Iíve picked up around the yard since Hurricane Katrina. It will be burned in a month or two. Thereís a parish-wide burn ban in effect right now. It hasnít rained much since Katrina, there are huge piles of dried yard debris (Mostly pine trees, branches, and needles) all over the parish, and many people are still running gasoline-powered generators. We are a major fire waiting to happen. Most of the small branches at CrabAppleLane have been jammed in any open spaces I have between trees in the yard where they will decay naturally. I have a lot more to go and I havenít really started on the bigger stuff yet. With this amount of work, I donít have the normal completion thing working against me. I can work a few hours or until Iím tired and I can stop with a clear conscience. The end is a few months away no matter what I do. Rushing won't help and hurting myself will help even less.
Our 16yr old outdoor cat, Priscilla, surveys the trail she and I used to walk after I spent this past Sunday afternoon clearing a portion of it. After picking up or cutting up the branches and trees that were blocking the trail, I ran over it with the tractor about 20 times to clear the 12 to 16 inches of pine needles that were on it.
Of course, thereís still a lot more trail to clear. You can only see one tree in this image laying across the trail. There are several others equally large laying below the carpet of pine needles.
This is some of the bigger stuff I will deal with when I have the time and energy. All of the trees at CrabAppleLane laid down to the south. Some that survived are leaning in that direction. Those that havenít laid all the way down are leaning on another tree.
And, now, for something completely different: The Blog of the Day will resume when I have internet access at home. I havenít had much time on the internet to surf the blogs like I once did and I miss that.
This is Hwy 21 in Bush. The rain is coming from the feeder bands of Hurricane Rita all around us. This was once one of the nicest parts of a gorgeous drive on the way to Covington from Bush. It featured tall pines, red oaks, honeysuckle, wisteria, and all manner of luscious green underbrush. Everything should be green, purple, or yellow right now. Katrina destroyed it. Itís mostly dead and brown now. The power line is still sagging in the middle and almost on the ground on the right. She snapped those tall pines like twigs.
I canít imagine what kind of leak this patch job will stop. This is the back of the Mandeville Starbucks. When I shot this, the wind was blowing a substantial portion of it up. Rain will get under it fairly easily. Roofers will have work in this area for a long, long time.
This toad has been living in our garage for a number of years. Itís quite an accomplishment because one of our cats was a toad eater. Iím thinking heís knocked down a few moths, flies, ants, and gnats in his lifetime. He has taken to chilling out in Priscillaís (Our 16yr old cat) water bowl. Weíve given her a new water bowl and put it up higher off the ground.
Itís been 22 days since the hurricane. I started composing thoughts for this entry on September 11. Normally, that would have been an entry marking the day of remembrance and the day the NFL season started but I had other things on my mind that day, too. Hurricane Katrina turned our lives upside down even though there was almost no damage here at CrabAppleLane. I started a journal of sorts that first day after the hurricane passed through but abandoned it a day later. I couldnít think very straight in those early days when I first saw the damage Katrina did around here. Iíve been through hurricanes before. Youíre inconvenienced a few days while the various utility companies restore services but thatís no big deal. Katrina was different and she forever put to rest the ghosts of Hurricanes Betsy and Camille. My account of the hurricane and the continuing aftermath in the extended entry if youíre interested.
Still no internet or land line phones at home but I thought Iíd post a few images here. I took some pictures of what was going on during and after Hurricane Katrina. My preparations to ride out the storm consisted mainly of bringing in or securing any lawn and yard stuff that might get blown around (Wind chimes, plastic chairs and tables, sun dials, whirly gigs, BBQ grilles, etc). I have never boarded up my windows. I have too many of them and some are too difficult to reach. Storm shutters are on my list of things to purchase if and when I get back on my feet again. Mostly, I took pictures of CrabAppleLane and the roads around here. I felt like I was intruding on personal tragedy every time I pointed the camera at someone elseís home or property. I have no words to describe the magnitude of the damage Iíve seen and I know the damage here was not nearly as bad as it was in the city. I havenít been in New Orleans yet. Aside from a special permit, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B shots are required to go into the city. The Hepatitis shots are in short supply and are reserved for police, fire fighters, and other emergency personnel. My work place in New Orleans East took on five feet of water and substantial vandalism. The Danziger Bridge near where I work was the scene of a shootout between NOPD and six people described as gunmen. Some of the gunmen were killed, some wounded, and one arrested. Pardon the disjointed effort here. I just threw it together in a few minutes this morning.
More here if you're interested.
Sorry to worry you all but it's been a difficult few days here. CrabAppleLane came through relatively unscathed. My yard is a mess but nothing is in the way so that cleanup can wait until I have power, time, energy, etc.... I'm on my sister-in-law's dial-up internet (DSL isn't up yet) in Covington, LA.
There are many, many people to thank.
My first foray into the world came Wednesday. Most of the roads were still blocked Tuesday. Anyone looking for heroes? There were guys out cutting trees on the roads Tuesday morning. They weren't instructed to and they didn't work for anyone. They were simply volunteer good samaritans. I ventured out Wednesday with my Mom to see what we could do and where we could go. I checked in on this sister-in-law first. The first words out of her mouth were, "Do you want a generator?". Many, many thanks for that. We then had to travel to Denham Springs to get gasoline (About 70 miles).
By the time we got back to CrabAppleLane, my sister and her husband had arrived from Lafayette with another generator and food and water. They already had it hooked up to my water pump and we had running water. Many, many thanks for that, too.
The days are running together on me a little but shortly after we had those two generators up and running, yet another brother-in-law showed up at our house with another generator. This was a very nice one but we have to bring it back because it has some problems. Still, many, many thanks for that, too.
We now have some semblance of a life at CrabAppleLane but we're living day to day. I finally contacted my employer today. I still have a job and they have my contact information. We'll be OK. My family is all safe and accounted for. Many of them are posting on Our Family Blog. I don't know when I'll have power or internet again but I'm optimistic it will be within a few days or weeks.
I also want to thank the online community and the bloggers out there for their good wishes, their concern, and their very generous offers.