Tuesday, November 28, 2006

15 Months

Time moves on.

It's been fifteen months since Katrina devastated this area.

450 days. For those out there who haven't lived with the remains
of the storm, it must seem like a lifetime. You probably can go for
days without thinking about Katrina. Not so down here.

Sitting here at work, I can here two co-workers talking happily on their
progress in getting back into their homes. 15 months. Where I work, over
50% of the employees lost EVERYTHING except what they evacuated with.
I work for a company that employs over 2000 people. I am among the
minority here in that I lost very little. Yes, I have survivor's guilt. I cannot
imagine what it's like to live in a FEMA trailer full time. I admire and respect
all of the people out there who've pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and
started their lives over again. Dealing with insurance companies and government
entities.
In my group of a dozen people, six lost almost everything. They lived in Lakeview, Chalmette, New Orleans and Slidell. The past year
has shown the true strength and character of these people. They are a special breed
and I am proud to know them.

Driving home last night past the Northshore Square Mall in Slidell I remembered
how awe-struck I was three days after Katrina when we were standing in line at
Home Depot waiting to purchase a generator (which turned out to be three grueling hours in the 90 plus degree heat)
and I looked over at the mall parking lot. It was full - and I mean FULL - of electrical bucket
trucks from all over the country. I wish I hadn't been so shell-shocked at the time and had
carried a camera around to capture all of the unbelievable things we saw right after the storm. The sight
of that mall parking lot will be with me forever. It served as a staging ground for recovery and stayed that way for
at over a month. The Walmart parking lot turned in to an RV and trailer park for the longest time, housing
relief workers. Walmart, Sam's & Home Depot bussed in employees from Texas and beyond
until the Slidell employees returned home. A lot haven't returned.

link of pictures in the Bayou Liberty area

It's been a long, strange trip and there's a long and I'm sure very strange road ahead.
Thank you, Katrina survivors for showing the world your strength and resilience.

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