Been too busy and too preoccupied to post, so here’s a random grab-bag update. My apologies if this seems somewhat haphazard or disjointed.
We continue to chip away at basic clean-up tasks.
I bought a pressure washer.
The electrician was supposed to show up today, but he didn’t. The insurance company was supposed to call today, but they didn’t. I was supposed to meet the plumber today, but I didn’t. He showed up, but I wasn’t there, and I felt like an idiot when he called me.
We have not moved back into our house permanently yet. Tonight will be our third night here. It has been unseasonably warm, but when the cold front comes through tomorrow it might be a bit chilly without some form of heat.
Xy and I were speculating on what happened to a certain young thug from our neighborhood. Lo and behold, shortly thereafter we passed him standing on the corner of Gayoso and Bienville, in front of Adam’s Grocery. This is where he always used to hang, and there was something funny about seeing him there again even though the place was flooded and remains closed. Xy waved and he waved back, all smiles.
We stopped by Xy’s old school, which is still being used as a SWAT/SOD headquarters. Xy got a look at her old classroom, which is basically intact. There are still instructions on the chalkboard from the Friday before Katrina.
As for Xy’s job, I hardly know what to say. Her school was designated as a charter, but now it’s been taken over by the state, and we have no idea what’s happening. I hope to have more news soon.
Lucy finally caught a mouse, after several days of stalking.
Speaking of rodents, a few days ago we found a dead rat lying on the sidewalk in front of the house next door. Today I picked it up — carefully, with a shovel and gloves and a plastic bag — and threw it in the dumpster down the street. One of the more revolting things I’ve ever done.
Speaking of revolting, we re-potted a big plant that Michael and I had jury-rigged in a trash can a couple months ago. (The original terra cotta pot had been shattered by the hurricane.) As we grappled with it, a quantity of fetid water was disgorged on my leg, and the smell brought back memories of sorting through our flooded possessions. I’d hoped I would never smell that smell again.
We’ve been eating well: Thai at the Basil Leaf, Caribbean at Mango House, sushi at Sake Cafe, pizza at Slice, and some excellent home-cooked meals (at David’s house, since we still have no power). The home-cooked meals have been cooked by Xy. I have not been in the mood to cook much since Katrina. We’ve also had a number of hot lunches from the American Red Cross. They have trucks roving through Mid-City. Not gourmet fare, of course, but free and deeply appreciated.
Food and drink have been a source of immense comfort, and I’m glad to see more restaurants re-opening everyday. Whatever else happens, we won’t starve.
Tonight we discovered there are streetlights burning at Jeff Davis and Canal! Still none at Salcedo and Canal, but they’re getting closer.
As you walk through our neighborhood, you hear random electronic squawks coming from deserted houses. These are smoke detectors, dutifully alerting the absent residents that their 9-volt batteries are running low.
And, finally, I would note that a general consensus seems to be growing here, a mood which I would describe as a mix of desperation and determination. The feeling seems to be that the rest of the country has forgotten about us already, and that even those who have not forgotten cannot truly appreciate the devastation without seeing it firsthand, but that somehow, someway we have to make our voices heard.