Katrina Networking

I am using my networking and marketing skills to pass along vital information to organizations, volunteers and survivors of the 2005 hurricane season. Grants, networking, advocating, assistance resources, articles and more. Updated regularly to better assist you.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Trip

I'll be posting the information from Gary, who traveled from DC to the Coast for Christmas. He's playing Santa, so I figured it might be worth while to post his updates as I get them.

It was a very quiet night despite all the rain. I didn't hear any calls at least. (He was running calls for local fire department) There have been several calls for trees down. One call involved a tree down with wires on top of FEMA trailers. A call just came out for a tree down blocking the door to a FEMA trailer. There is lots of dead wood around as I have tried to show you.

The strip of US 90 is very narrow. It's just a few hundered yards between shorelines. I looked this area up on Goggle Earth from a perspective of approximately 1,000 feet. In many areas there was vegetation and scrub trees typical of a barrier reef. Now there is basically nothing!!!!
There are still boats that floated up and got deposited on or next to the road. Here and there is a container that floated and got deposited. There are many remains of piers that go out from nothing.
Many of these beach houses were lavish and year round homes. A few are being rebuilt particularly around Fort Pike. It really is beyond description. I took a few pictures but it was raining rather hard and difficult to get a good picture. I promise to up load them soon. If you do the Goggle Earth thing Fort Pike is readily recognizable by the triple arch bridge.
It appears that Fort Pike FD is operating out of someone's home. They have an engine that West Hancock gave them - another example of regifting.
East of Fort Pike is pretty much the same as west of Fort Pike - destroyed property to the left and right. Once in a while a place being fixed up. It's pretty desolate. There are a couple of large buildings that I am guessing were fish processing facilties. I can't tell off hand if they are being fixed up or not.

There is little business open along 603 still. The Exxon station at the interchange is open or about to open but not open at night. There is a Firestone tire store just north of the cutoff that is new. K-Mart opened just in time for Christmas litterally days before. There could be more but it was dark and I wasn't able to tell.

The ride down from Waveland was uneventful except the Alligator sign has been replaced with a sign for the Silver Slipper Casino. The sign is the boundry between Bayside and West Hancock fire departments. Just past that you enter the buffer zone and its quite dark until you hit the outskirts of Pearlington. The aligator mada great land mark and was cool to talk about. Li attention West Hancock there is a report of an accident near the alligator sign. It just isn't as cool to say there is an accident in front of the big slipper. Change is so hard to get used too.

In Pearlington,there is somewhere between is 300 - 500 people in town. Pre storm was about 1200 +/- . A few homes have been rebuilt a few are in the process of being rebuilt. A hand ful or so were being rebuilt but have stop orders on them from the county. The Presbryterian Camp has been empty but I saw one or two folks running around the camp today. They have funky plastic blue and white shelters that sit on pallets. I have been in them once or twice and seem kind of comfy but they would need a heater right now to live in. They also need a bathroom if I was going to use it but I digress. Post office and bank are still not rebuilt. The Presbryterian Camp may be closed the end of January so a community center can be built.

I drove over New Orleans Sunday - litterally. The I 10 express way is raised and above the city so you get a different perspective. This is non scientific, but when I drove over here from Florida I passed through the panhandle which got hit so hard the year before. Both places still had lots of blue tarps on roofs. I think there was a more concentrated number of tarps in Florida, but probably more over all in New Orleans. A number of buildings looked like they were ready to collapse.The only time I was at ground level was when I was on the West Bank. You will recall, that the West Bank did not have the flooding like the downtown and Lakefront areas. Accodring to Gina, the small town of Westwego is getting its fair share of bad elements out of the city. This is causing great stress on the police officers. She knows of one who had to quit due to stress. To get a feel of what it was really like I drove through the eastern section of New Orleans going down Crowder Street to US 90 and east from there.

On the way back from Westwego, I stopped at a store on the corner of Crowder to get a soda. The store is a vey interesting collection of merchandise. Licquor, soft drinks and typical licquor store items, cell phones and accessories, fried chicken (tastey and fresh). There was also Asian food available. They guy selling cell phone stuff tried to hit me up to buy some sort of crap but I didn't pay him no mind. I did get two chicken legs and ate them outside under the awning.

Along Crowder it appeared that most homes had a FEMA trailer in the driveway, but the house seemed intact from the outside. These are modern brick homes and probably had mortgages. The trip east on US 90 (Chef Monture Hwy) was interesting. This runs close to the shore line. Further east along US 90 buildings were in all sorts of conditions. Some were wiped out some were under reconstruction some had trailers in front of them. At one point I realized I was following a National Guard hummer and it took a moment to register that this was a poilice unit not just a jive hummer running down the street.

There is an area there where you cross a small seawall blocking the road. Once inside the flood wall or sea wall things get pretty rough. I have no idea what used to be out here but practically nothing is out here now. It is very earrie driving out in that area. The area is probably about 20 miles long. The triple bridge at Fort Pike seemed like the mid point and is 11 miles from Pearlington.

Hi gang,

I delivered the stuff to Kathleen (in Hancock County) around 5:00 PM tonight. Caroyln was supposed to meet me there but was running late as is typical. For once I was on time more or less.

The trip went well except getting out of DC was rough. I also got stuck just before getting on the interstane in Charlottsville. It took me over an hour to get a mile or mile and a half.

I bought a tarp in Madison, VA and it took me a while to figure out how to get it on and strap it down. Having all sizes of straps is nice but not very many of any one size leads to creative tarping.

Thank you Dayle for your support yesterday. Anyway I found the hotel in Tennessee around 9:30. By the time I got in and settled it was almost 11.

The wake up was for 6:30 but it was 7:30 by the time I got out of bed and moving around. I think I was on the road by 8:45 or so after getting fuel.

I made it to Birmingham but didn't realize I had an office and a warehouse address and made a wrong turn while going to the office. It took a few 'counter turns' to get to the warehouse. The guys thought I was dropping stuff off and starting taking my stuff inside. Oh well!!!

Again it took a while to tie everything down. I was out before noon and called Kathleen to let her know I was on my way. I called so many people that I lost track. I took a short cut down 43 from Picyaune to the Kiln instead of going all the way down 59 to I 10 and in to Waveland.

I met Kathleen. Well actually she passed me on Central Ave and just about that time the phone rang. I naturally thought it was her but it was Robb calling about the microwave. Now I was totally confused and pulled up to Kathlen and said who are you?

They have a nice warehose there that sits on a hump. While everything else for miles around got flooded, the warehouse had 18 inches of water. She had spent the day in New Orleans and had a function to go to but stayed to chat with me while waiting for Carolyn to show up.

I need to go back and talk to Kathleen because she may be able to help a friend of mine or at least get her hooked up with a case worker in Jackson.

Carolyn called and I made new arrangements to meet her outside town so Kathleen could go about her business but we will hook up again next week. When Carolyn saw what the cards and books were she was quite excited. They are a very hot item with kids of all ages. I don't know who or what they are but she knew all the charachters and what they looked like etc. I still can't stay the name. Bottom line it went over big with her and should be a good thing for her clients.

I got to the firehouse here at Pearlington about 6:30.

Well I'm dead tired and ready to sleep but I drew the couch and have to wait for everyone else to settle down.

Dayle thanks again. It was fun talking to California and driving in VA/TN. Leslie glad your eye is doing better and it sounds like you and your sis are having fun.

Good night everyone and thanks for everything.

I have talked to Gina and got directions to her house. It shows up on my GPS so there shouldn't be any trouble going there.

12/24 - 11:30AM
Just back from my first call. An auto wreck (I mentioned they were popular. I don't know how, but a Ford p/u and a Red Durango tangled left side to left side. Both sustained heavy front end damage with the p/u in the ditch buried to the fender. No injuries though. I was awake but not up and fumbled getting up. By the time I got outside four pieces were running so I didn't get to drive:

I really am nervous about these kids driving but I got in the Squad and just kept yelling slow down. Its nice to get out with a lot of equipment but nicer if there are people in the equipment too.

Everyone down here has a dry cough which makes me nervous as hell and I don't get parnoid usually. Quck down and dirty observation, down at the FEMA trailer park near the port I didn't see one Chritsmas decoration.

I stopped in and said a very quick hi and Merry Christmas to Mr. Al at Hancock Water and Sewer yesterday. I'm probably the last person he expected to see.

Pam (@ BSL FD) got the task of making personnel decisions and has become very unpopular over it. Apparantley some of the personnel she is recommending have less then 3 years on the department and I guess that's a criteria for promotion.

There was a second article and it was more lor less the chief defending her. He gave her an unpopular job and she handled it. Promotions always cause grief. There were also some demotions which is bound to cause more grief. With the Bay annex, the fire department needs to cover the expansion.

I don't know what is driving the fire department expansion because that area was covered by East Hancock Volunteers. I guess they will be forced out.

Its a little chilly but not too bad. I have ot shave and head over to Nawlins to play Santa Claus.

12/24 6:45PM
Its hard to express the joy and happiness I am feeling right now. I have traveled over 1,000 miles in two days and delivered a microwave oven, medical supplies, over 180 collector cards in tins and some personal items to one person on the Real People list.

My person lives outside of New Orleans next to the Mississippi River levee. Her home was messed up in the storm and she is surviving well with a teen age girl and boy in the house they are renting. Gifts included a George Foreman grill, a large roaster pan, silverware, cookie sheets, Christmas ornaments, a service of 8 of plates and coffee mugs, and other goods. I have never seen an adult so excited over gifts at Christmas.

Her only comment was "effervescent". That was how she described her feelings. She said she was going to dance on the table after I left (think Snoopy Happy Dance).

The system worked well. There were many people on the list but I know that this one had a very Merry Christmas!!!

12/25 6PM
Typical holiday - eat big dinner / take big nap.

Susan of Hands on just called again to find out what I was working on. I guess people are a little surprised that someone comes down to be an emergency responder. Everyone is fooled easily into thinking thnigs are ok. Trucks go out on calls so there must be crews. No one takes a haed count to realize there is only one person per truck and manpower is challanged. Anyway, I suddenly get the feeling that relief groups are looking for projects.

Nancy Lemarie of Disaster Corps stopped by too. Rumor has it the Prespbryterians are going yot lose there camp come January. Other than the gas leak early this morning we had a medical run down at the FEMA trailer camp next to Port Bienville. It was very crowded in there. The door to the bedroom would not open because the bed was in the way. The hallway was cramped with a washer and dryer there. I can see trying to get up in an emergency and fighitng the door. The fire extinguisher was emptied.

There are 9 people here plus a new grandbaby people have to fuss over in loud tones. I'm getting a headache. (here is West Hancock Volunteer Fire and Rescue)

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