I found a list on the internet tonight of people listed as missing since Katrina. My old friend Curtis is listed as missing from Bay St. Louis. I’ve tried searching for his name on a dozen other sites, hoping to find him among the found, but he’s not there. I tried calling his parents’ and sister's houses, but of course all of the phones are out. I hope like hell that he’s okay.



Kenny showed me the pictures that he took of our house tonight. It was surreal.

Our couch is now laying sort of tilted up in the air, with part of one side resting on top of a lamp and an end table sitting on top of the other side of it.

Our refrigerator is crashed over in the middle of the kitchen—which should make getting it out of the house, full of the rotting food in it, especially fun. (Note to self--do NOT stock the freezer with chicken, steaks, ground beef, etc. during the height of hurricane season.) And yet the utility cart that was sitting next to the refrigerator is still standing upright—it even still has a watermelon sitting on top of it, although the watermelon is quite, um, fuzzy.

When Kenny showed me a picture of the bathtub, I didn’t know what it was until he told me. I've never seen anything quite like that before--or anything quite like the stuff that was in it. I shudder to think what, exactly, that stuff might be.

The pictures of the closet were interesting—my black leather jacket is now furry and a lovely, seafoam green color. All of Kenny's baseball caps had mold growing down from them in a straight line, like stalactites.

The official water line was just to the top of Emmeline’s crib mattress, which made me sad.

And the walls? I don't even know how to describe what they look like. Just ugly black mold growing everywhere, covering almost every inch.


It's Official

It’s official--at least in our minds. Our house is totaled. Whether Allstate will agree remains to be seen. Kenny finally got into it, and we had about 3 1/2 feet of water. He talked to one of our neighbors, who had been there the entire time in his second-floor apartment. The guy said that the water started rising in our neighborhood on the Tuesday night after the hurricane and that it stayed there for 12 days. And Kenny’s guess about the sewage was right, too—not only did we have floodwaters from the 17th Street Canal but also raw sewage that backed up from the pumping stations in Jefferson Parish. There’s not much in our house that’s salvageable, that’s for sure.


Red Cross

Went to the Red Cross today to apply for assistance. Our relief worker's name? Katrina. Of course. She was very apologetic when she introduced herself--I'm sure she's gotten some interesting reactions.


Pictures from NOLA

I got on the nola.com site tonight to look for pictures of what the flooding has done to the city, and I found a slide show. Good God. It included one of a black Lab impaled on an iron fence. I guess when the floodwaters were rising, he tried to swim over the fence and got stuck on one of the posts. As the waters receded, he was impaled further and further onto the post and hung there until he died. I really wish I hadn’t seen that picture--now I can't get it out of my head.


A Report from Home

Kenny called on the walkie-talkie--he made it into New Orleans. He told the cops that stopped him at a checkpoint that he’d come into town to check on the restaurant. Still no concrete news on our house, but it doesn’t look good. Kenny and his dad got to our street, but it was flooded and they couldn't drive any further than about a block down from the highway before the water was up past the tires on the Explorer and they had to turn around. He said it’s bad—that he could tell that the further down the street, the higher the water. Our house is in the last block. He also said that the smell of the water, which obviously included a lot of raw sewage, was so overwhelming and god-awful that both he and his dad leaned out of the car and threw up. Goodbye, house.


Fingers Crossed

Kenny left today to head into New Orleans to try and find out the status of our house. I debated about going with him, but I just don't have the heart to do it right now; and I can't really see leaving Emmeline here with Kendra and Jeff while I go--I know she'd be fine, but she has enough confusion in her life right now without having to wonder where we are. Part of me wants to believe our house just might be okay, but I really don’t think it is. When you see a guy on the national news cruising down the street in a boat a few blocks from where your house is located, that's usually not a good sign.


Hindsight is 20/20 (and nine feet short of the surge)

I called Geico to tell them that my car went under a 37-foot storm surge. In hindsight, it was stupid to leave it in Bay St. Louis—but I left it in the highest point there, which was 28 feet above sea level, in an area that didn’t flood during Camille. Who could have known that Cat 3 Katrina would have a storm surge that dwarfed Camille’s? The surge only made it to the railroad tracks during Camille, a Category 5 hurricane. Katrina's surge made it about five times farther inland.


The National Guard

I sat in my sister's living room and cried today, as the news showed the National Guard finally arriving in New Orleans. Why it took them six days to get there is anyone's guess--but thank God they're finally there so at least the suffering in that city can begin to ease. How can our country leave people to just fend for themselves for this long, with no food and water? We know there are ways into (and therefore out of) the city--but yet they've left people there to die like dogs. George W. Bush, you are an asshole and an idiot for making the people of New Orleans wait this long.


We just heard from my stepfather. Pretty much everything in their house is ruined--they got water up to about three feet on the second floor. Considering that the house is raised off of the ground 15 feet, and water still got into the 2nd floor, that means they had about 35 feet of water in their area. The storm surge went all the way to I-10, which is about six or seven miles inland. Truly amazing to think about.

As far as our house in New Orleans is concerned, still no news other than what we can get off of the internet and television.

Kenny and I are still uncertain as to our long-range plans. I've heard that it could be weeks, if not months, before they can drain all of the water out of the city, just as was predicted in the doomsday scenario before all of this happened. We're debating about whether Kenny should go back in at some point, just to see if any of our sentimental stuff is left.

We all just sit around, dazed, watching the television to catch glimpses of what used to be our home and now looks like some other country. I'm just so thankful that we all got out safely, and my heart aches for the people that are still stuck there with no way out. Needless to say, we're all having our ups and downs each day. I know things are pretty bad right now, but I also know that we'll get through this. And God, how lucky we are that we're all still alive and have a roof over our heads, rather than being trapped in what looks like hell on earth right now.


Some Good News

Kenny is back in Atlanta, with his mom, stepfather and grandmother. They got back here late last night. Kenny drove through the night to get there--it took him about 16 hours to drive what normally takes about six, but I'm still surprised that he made it that quickly--we figured it would be a while before he made it back.

The fact that he made it there so relatively easy is incredibly frustrating to me, considering that there’s still no help coming into the area from the government. No food, no water, no nothing.

Kenny drove up to his aunt's house, where his family was staying, and all that was left were three walls--his mother was asleep in a chair next to where the fourth wall used to be. He said that his aunt's boyfriend was obviously in shock--he was in the yard, picking tiny pieces of insulation out of the grass, even though his house was pretty much destroyed.

Anyway, they're all safe and back here in Atlanta. Kenny has an uncle that lives in Memphis, so he's coming to get all of them tomorrow and take them back with him, as we don’t have room for more people and another dog in my sister’s house. Virginia, Kenny's grandmother, is in shock as well, as one of her dogs died in her arms earlier today. He was an older dog and just couldn't take all of the stress, I guess.

Kenny is still reeling from what he saw down there. He said that it's many times worse than what you see on television. His sister's house is in splinters and is now located on someone else's property, and his grandmother's house is completely gone, nothing left but the slab. His mother's apartment is still standing, but there's no roof and everything in it is destroyed--he said it looked like someone had run everything in the apartment through a blender with a truckload of mud and then poured it back in through the top of the building.

Mom and Nicks's house is still standing--Kenny wasn't able to get close enough to tell if the house is still structurally sound, as he said that the mud in the street was knee-deep and, of course, there's debris everywhere. Nick left for Bay St. Louis earlier today to try to get to the house and find out if there's anything left to salvage.

Kenny had taken extra water and gas with him to Bay St. Louis. After seeing the desperate need there for the most basic supplies, he gave away everything he had. He saw an elderly man walking along the road, headed for Highway 90 in search of water, so he gave him all of his bottled water. He donated his extra gas to the Waveland Fire Department; one of the firemen cried when he did. What in God's name are we all going to do now?