July 24, 2006

Hello Goodboys Nation,

My name is Rob and my drivel can normally be found at the CrabAppleLane Blog. The Great White Shank asked me if I could help fill the void in his absence here as he had done for me a few months ago. Always one to return a favor and never one to turn down a big paycheck, I gladly accepted. The forces of evil have conspired against us, though, and my internet cable was severed earlier this week making this endeavor more difficult than anticipated. I blame the Yankees.

I’d also like to thank the Great White Shank for his visit to New Orleans and his many kind words about the city and many wonderful suggestions about what you can do to help the people of the Gulf Coast region. I was born in New Orleans at Mercy Hospital. Mercy is in mid-city New Orleans and took on water from Hurricane Katrina. I spent most of my young life in a suburb of New Orleans called Kenner. My mother still lives in that house. Kenner is where Louis Armstrong International Airport is. I went to high school and college in New Orleans and have worked in New Orleans my entire professional life since 1979. I’ve lived in Louisiana all of my 49 years.

I don’t have as much interest in debating politics as I once had but I do occasionally pick up the torch for Hurricane Katrina issues. That event and its aftermath deeply affected me. Although there was minimal damage to CrabAppleLane (Mostly trees down in the yard), it has been a soul-crushing experience on both a professional and also a very personal level. I am disappointed that the event and its aftermath devolved into a political hot potato. That should have never happened. This was a humanitarian crisis from the very beginning and regardless of who’s to blame, let’s help the people of that region anyway. They’re our fellow citizens and they’re fighting mountains of red tape, disreputable carpetbaggers seizing on disaster, FEMA, insurance policy legalese, depression, anger, shock, anxiety, and many other issues too numerous to mention here.

For me, on a professional level, my workplace in New Orleans East took on 4 to 9 feet of water and we’ve been rebuilding ever since. We were fortunate enough to have the resources to start right away and not have to wait on insurance or FEMA. Right away in this instance means about 6 weeks after the storm passed, the water was pumped out, and the remediation team was finished. Show of hands; how many people even know what a remediation team is? I do now. Whether it was wise to rebuild still remains to be seen but I’m optimistic. Although some of our issues have abated lately, those early months after the storm were just awful. We were using generators at first, a wireless computer network system, and a handful of analog phone lines. If you run a little boutique with a few customers per hour, that’s not much of an inconvenience. We run a high volume, high traffic operation. It was not inconvenient. It was sorely inadequate. Business was and still is down and income has suffered. Couple that with skyrocketing consumer prices throughout the region and our very modest non-retirement savings are gone.

On a personal level, this is the hardest part to describe to someone not going through this but I’ll do the best I can. During the course of a day, how many people do you come in contact with that have so much weighing on them that they can barely function? Imagine yourself and every single person you come in contact with being in that condition. It’s been like that for a year.

On a neither personal nor professional level: Due to so many work trucks on the road, many from out of state, many towing trailers, and most with unsecured cargo, traffic has been almost unbearable and just about everyone has experienced a flat tire or a cracked windshield because of all of the extra road debris. There are long lines wherever you go. There is a Help Wanted sign in just about every shop window. There are still tough times ahead.

All of that said (And I hope I didn’t wail too much), I am proud of the citizens of the Gulf Coast states and thankful to the citizens of the other states and all other world citizens that came here eager to help. All levels of government were inept or overwhelmed but the ordinary citizens came up big. They made all of the difference.

And, finally, a rebirth of sorts for the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana will take place tomorrow night in the Superdome. The undefeated New Orleans Saints will return to the city for the first time in over a year to face the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The fans and citizens throughout the area are just beaming about it. There are some naysayers out there that think the city’s/state’s priorities are mixed up, that the money used to repair the Superdome could have been better spent elsewhere. Wrong. The money used for repairs came from their insurance and from FEMA and couldn’t have been spent anywhere else. Besides, everyone in town has a smile on their face, a song in their heart, and a little extra spring in their step. See if you can put a price on that. One last thing: GO Saints GO.

Filed in: Uncategorized by at 12:04 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. A fantastic post, Rob. Your sentiments are exactly those of my good friend Rock when he calls to say hi and just blow off steam ’cause there’s no one around there who wants to hear it – everyone’s in the same boat. If you read your post, and Kerry’s the next day, the same themes come through – no matter what forms of madness and mayhem are going on in the world, if things ain’t right in your own backyard, it’s difficult to care, which is why when we help each other, the world around us is changed for the better. Thanks for hanging in there.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 4, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

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