Friday, December 09, 2005

What Katrina Did

So much has happened since my last entry. The hurricane turned out to be so much more devastating than I had any idea I would or even could be. My mother's house didn't flood at all but it will still have to be torn down and rebuilt because the wind tore off part of the roof so that when you stand in my brother's room, you can see clear through to the sky. Then the rain poured down into the walls which means that they'll all have to be torn down. I think I was in denial about how bad it was even after I visited for the first time after the storm. I could tell that my brother's room would need to be repaired and, because of seepage from that room, also my mother's room below it. However, the other rooms looked pretty good. Everything was almost as it was when they left. There were water spots on some of the ceilings and I guess that should have clued me in but I suppose I was seeing what I wanted to see and nothing more. My mother and step-dad are living in Dallas now while they wait for the insurance company to take care of their part.

My great-aunt also lost her home. It was right on the corner of Tennessee St. which is where one of the levee breaks occurred. They don't even have anything to go back to. The house is gone, completely blown to bits by the water. Fortunately, she had evacuated or else she'd surely be dead. She's been suffering from depression ever since she found out about her house though. She's living in a FEMA trailer on one of her niece's homes in Baton Rouge right now.

One of my maternal aunts had a house in New Orleans east. The kitchen in her house is elevated a bit higher than the rest of the rooms on the main floor and the water still got as high as the top of her kitchen counters. So, the only room that didn't flood was her attic. They're living in Arkansas right now while they decide what to do next.

Another aunt evacuated to Baton Rouge where one of her daughter's had just moved. Her second-floor apartment made it through the hurricane intact but she still can't live there because the first floor apartments totally flooded so the whole building has to be renovated. Her other two children also evacuated to Baton Rouge. The German found an apartment for her son to rent; His apartment in New Orleans was destroyed by flood waters. Her younger daughter had been living in St. Bernard parish when the storm hit. When she went back to see her apartment, everything in it was pushed around like a tornado had been inside of it. She's found a house to rent and moved to New Orleans earlier this week.

My oldest brother lost everything too. The German and I sneaked into the apartment complex and saw some really mind-blowing sights. There were garbage bins, the kind that it takes those special garbage trucks with the lifts to pick up, that had floated ontop of cars and rested there as the water receded. There were cars that had been picked up from the parking lot and carried into the lake in the middle of the complex. My brother's apartment had no walls left. From outside you could see past his living room and into what had once been his bathroom. So, he has nothing to come back to either. He and his girlfriend and their kids are living in Atlanta now.

I'm realizing now that I would have to write for a very long time in order to talk about how much has happened since the hurricane. I think I'll have to do this in installments. At least I'm starting to try to write about this again. It's just been so painful that I didn't think I could bear to do it. I still don't know how much I can say about it at one time. I really wanted this to be a release but I'm afraid that it may just open up wounds that haven't even fully closed yet. However, they may never close so this may be as good a time as any to talk about it. It's just one day at a time, I guess.

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