Friday, September 22, 2006

(Some of) Houston vs. New Orleans

Writing for "THE THIRD BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS" blog, Fitch N. DarDar writes:
I guess the hospitality of Houstonians has now taken a nasty turn.

Gun dealers in the Lone Star State are now encouraging Houstonians to take up arms against people they are calling 'Katricians.'

It's nice to see opportunistic Houstonians making a move to take back the city from outsiders. Here's an excerpt from the story:
'When the 'Katricians' themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is gonna go up if they don't get more free rent, then it's time to get your concealed-handgun license,' warns the radio ad by Jim Pruett, who co-hosts a bombastic talk-radio show and owns Jim Pruett's Guns & Ammo, a self-styled 'anti-terrorist headquarters' that sells knives, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and other weapons. As Pruett describes the dangers posed by 'Katricians,' glass can be heard shattering, and a bell tolling ominously.
Fitch adds:
Yep, Barbara. This is really working out well for them.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"It looks really good down there"

Scout Prime ("First Draft"), New Orleans Lower 9th Ward --One Year Later:
On my last day I had asked lb0313 if I really needed to post all the videos I took on this trip. Surely people must know how bad it is here I thought. Then something happened on the plane.

I hadn't spoken with the woman sitting next to me during the flight but when we landed in Chicago she asked if I lived in NOLA. I said no I'd been down there working. She said she had been in NOLA to drop her son off at Tulane for his first year. Then she said, 'It looks really good down there.'

I took a breath and asked if she had been to Lakeview or Gentilly or the Lower 9th or St. Bernard Parish. She said no. She had been in the CBD and the Quarter. I told her well it's pretty bad outside those areas. She asked why and I started to explain about the problems with insurance and the federal money not coming to people. She stopped me and said, 'No, No. Why aren't businesses coming back. I would think they'd be clamoring to invest there.'

I simply said, ' No one knows if the levees are safe for a hurricane or even a tropical storm so they don't want to invest only to have it all washed away again.'

She looked away and never said another thing. I think it hit her where she'd just left her son.
Via Avedon Carol ("The Sideshow").

October 21, 2005

I cranked most of the evening after that. It made me feel bad, acting that way, but it seems nothing gets through to our “supervisors” when someone tries to get their ear. This a.m. I’m on shelter chore duty. I just swept the entire floor and mopped half of it. Finally someone (no, two people) offered to help, and I’m letting them have the rest of it while I rest. I’ve been at it for 2 ½ hours, and I’m bushed.
I spoke to MH person M. this a.m. for over an hour in her car. It was a good hour. I explained all my concerns about the shelter and went over all the kvetches I’ve been making to others. Then explained that my concern is that I hate myself when I start talking like that---that I’d promised myself to remain aloof from all dramas, intrigues, and politics while here.
She validated how I felt, because she sees it, too, which made me feel better. She advised me to try to keep a sense of humor and to take care of my own needs.
Funny though, I’ve kind of lost interest in expressing my concerns to K., M., or J. I’ve lost interest in anything except making it through the next 9 days. The last 3 are non-work days---Friday, my next day off, Saturday, for outprocessing, and Sunday for the flight home. So it’s really only 6 more hard work days.
I can make it.

Life in a shelter is:
  1. Discovering earplugs.
  2. A constant search for privacy.
  3. Overhearing all the little dramas and gossip that go on, and sometimes finding yourself pissed that you discover others conning the system or getting special treatment while you work so hard and play by the rules.
  4. Discovering you’re on your own, even when you’re sick and depending on medical personnel to get you treatment.
  5. Having a kitchen that makes only coffee and provides salty, starchy, sugary snacks as the primary food; getting ecstatic at the sight of tuna or a bag of lettuce.
  6. Eating the food doled out on the trucks to the needy for dinner (and lunch if you’re on the ERV crew) and finding out how little the procurer/”dieticians” in charge of the menus care for the health or tastes of their clientele.
  7. Unexpected kindnesses from people you don’t even know.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

October 20, 2005

I didn’t update yesterday’s entry because I didn’t get in until 9:05 p.m., and after showering & prep, into bed at 9:50. I was so exhausted I could hardly move. Stupid logistics, sending us out of the yard at 11:00 a.m., back in for a 2nd run at 5:00 p.m. to a place in Kenner (3rd & Fillmore) that hardly anyone was at, and to which a 2nd ERV had also been sent. Ended up going to CVS to get rid of over 200 meals, but by 8:00 p.m. there wasn’t many of them, either. Another ERV lost it’s inside lights and couldn’t serve, so they came by and gave us their food. They were kind enough to stay and help serve, but eventually we had to give up and go back.
Our driver, M., was good fun, and earlier took us for a ride around the broken levee (17th Street) and through the Bucktown neighborhood destroyed by it. I got some photos.
I was angry when I got back. They had ramped up to 2 or 3 times the number of meals we’d been serving when we first got here, and there are more than twice the ERVs now. Everything takes longer. The meals are numbers that make somebody look good, but the last couple days I’ve been out, enormous amounts of food have been wasted, and I don’t remember that happening. Plus the food is getting worse and worse, and the Baptists are having a harder time getting it.
So today is my day off, and I wake up with more deep yellow gunk coming out of my nose and chest, and yellow pus gluing my eyes shut. I spoke to the nurse, who wants to take me to the doctor. Nice way to spend the day off.

LATER: The nurse, N., was a chatterbox and kind of a scatterbrain, who couldn’t even find her list of clinics/doctors to take me to. I ended up calling around myself till I found a walk-in ER clinic. (I was in tears as I did this, feeling like utter shit and about to collapse any minute, feeling like I’d lost my last friend.) After a very long wait (they accidentally took someone else first who answered to my name, then continued to respond to it until they asked her straight out, “Are you X?” at which time she seemed to regain consciousness, but it was too late.) I saw the doc, who ran a test that was 85% positive for strep throat. I had visions of being sent home as a “Typhoid Mary”, but the nurse spoke to Public Health and someone else, both of them telling her it was not a concern. So I was given a cortisone shot, a couple prescriptions for amoxicillin and Allegra-D (allergy med w/decongestant in case I was having allergic reactions kicked up by the infection or the mung in NOLA) and a recommendation for a day of rest and fluids.
We stopped to get N. a meal and (this was before she told me I could stay) I looked at the menu thinking this could be my last chance to get a shrimp po’ boy, so I ordered one, with fries. Since I wasn’t the least bit hungry, it surprised me to finish the whole plate.
I’m full even now, at 8:00 p.m., and that will be my one and only meal of the day.
I picked up another $200 at the ATM since my bill at CVS came to $150 (and I have insurance!), most of it for the medication, plus some items for work.
In the meantime, concerns continue, as people are sent out on fools’ errands with too much food, too late, and the waste piles up. Neither management nor volunteers understand each others’ concerns, and a number of volunteers who have spoken to J., M. or K. feel they have been ignored or given the brush off. If management is under stress and pushed into making decisions or enforcing quotas that seem unworkable...
It’s bad enough sending people on 2nd runs at 5:00 in the evening. People working 10-12 hour days, physically punishing days, have a hard time keeping up that pace, but if the results seem worth it, at least morale is kept up. But to send people out to work that kind of schedule only to see their work wasted, again and again, is to guarantee disillusionment and anger, not to mention loss of interest and focus on the main goal---to feed people who need it.
Cars pull up in the yard waiting to load cambros that aren’t ready, only to prevent the cars at the end of the line from loading snacks and water. Maybe time could be conserved by simply sending them through all the way when the H2O and snacks are loaded, and making a full circle back to the cambros, by which time the first pallets might be ready to load, and the cambro-loading could be done more by then, as well.
I’m so glad I’m not going home.

NOTE: The shelter meeting, postponed from yesterday, is now being held almost an hour late. The so-called “guest” expected with such ballyhoo failed to appear (was it the President of the ARC?) So the shelter manager wants to know if everyone had an “awesome day”. Everyone obligingly assented for the cameraman from HQ who has been circulating amongst us. Did I mention how they got us a large-screen TV just before the “visit”? Which replaced the donated, battered, rabbit-eared one that we got shortly after I arrived? And one of the first things we saw on the TV was a report on how the NOLA cops had beaten up some poor schmuck in front of some ARC volunteers, and when they tried to help him, the cops threatened to arrest them?
R brings up morning routine: “How to save time?” “Leave earlier!”

I forgot to mention the handmade signs we saw along W. Esplanade Ave. today: “Evacuate Broussard” “Thanks, Aaron”. Jefferson Parish is pissed at the man who cried for them on Meet the Press. I’ll have to ask the residents why.

Useful info gleaned from the meeting from a case management worker: way to get shelter placement---call 337.281.xxxx. If they have a LA identification and can find a hotel room, they can just say “Bill it to the Red Cross”.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

October 19, 2005

For some reason, the last 2 days have dragged endlessly, and it seems impossible that it’s only the 19th. Had the worst coughing spell yet last night about 3 a.m. This morning my throat doesn’t hurt so bad, but my nose seems to be running.
Today the president of the Red Cross is supposed to cruise into town, and management is all a-twitter. J. asked me to postpone my day off because of this, and I agreed. So I’ll take tomorrow off. The driver that drove me nuts, T., as well as several other new ones, have been taken off driving for awhile until they can be trained by observation. I’m going out with one of the drivers from Algiers, M. Crew includes P., another driver who needs to learn the ropes, and who yesterday ran into a telephone pole. I’m glad the word on T. confirmed my own experience.
My run today is Bucktown in the a.m., and 3rd and Fillmore in the p.m., both outside of NOLA. J. and R. said the latter site is beautiful in the evening, right at a levee overlooking the Mississippi River west, and that the sunset there is spectacular.
Yesterday, based on reports, was chaos: between the additional logistics of loading twice the ERVs that were here when I arrived, and the lack of training of the new crews and drivers, a lot of food was wasted, as well as time. At the yard I watched J. trying to herd crews and make the ERVs move out. Crew members came to sit in the tent and chat or eat instead of staying with their vehicles. This, plus problems getting supplies of food for us and the Baptists, made for a bad day.
From what I can gather, the word passes down from on high how many meals to serve, We were supposed to ramp up from about 5000-6000 to 10,000-15,000. But the way it’s supposed to be counted is: the driver makes the count before the run, after telling the crew what to get and how much at the yard. At the end of the run, s/he counts again. But the sheets used for this have not been used, except once or twice, meaning the count at the end of the run can be whatever driver and crew decide on. Most often clamshells used makes the hot meal count, and boxes of snacks & water used makes the rest. But it’s been very haphazard.
Plus, the temperature of the food is supposed to be monitored so that hot food doesn’t fall below 140 degrees. Only certain drivers make sure this occurs. Others think it’s unnecessary---though it’s in the ERV Driver training. This only becomes an issue when an all-day run is made, since it’s twice the food at one time.
So what happens is, it’s in everyone’s interest to keep the count up, so the ARC can look good. The idea is to “use the meals”, which means if you can’t get rid of them at one site, move to another, or mobile feed. Sometimes not keeping close records becomes a way to fudge the count, which is why management doesn’t seem particular about enforcing the record-keeping rule.
Now, what political opportunism has propelled the ARC president down here is unknown to me. But you can bet that’s what it is. I’ve been saying since I got here that the higher-ups needed to be down here in mobile communication trucks, visiting the sites and making personal assessments. But I doubt that’s what this will be. More likely a few stops at staging areas and meeting with supervisors, then off to D.C. or wherever.
Cynical, I know.
Ah, the sun rises. 7:25 a.m. I’m in the playing field. I better get some loratidine* into me.

*An allergy medicine.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

The Nation: Don't Mourn, Link

The first paragraphs of Michael Tisserand's Don't Mourn, Link in The Nation:
By the first week of September 2005, New Orleans was in effect a virtual city. Most phones, cell and otherwise, were useless; only e-mails brought news to and from evacuees. Instead of neighborhoods, there were neighborhood forums on the Times-Picayune's website, for those trying to locate relatives and friends.

By then, activists had also discovered that the Internet was the only way to send and receive reliable information about what was happening on the ground in New Orleans. First-person accounts of the flood and its aftermath began circulating widely, including 'This is Criminal,' written by former Black Panther Malik Rahim, as well as a detailed account of a blockade that prevented New Orleanians from crossing to safety over a Mississippi River bridge, first posted by Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky on the Socialist Worker website.

A year later, the Internet remains a crucial link in the effort to rebuild New Orleans and its communities. 'The Internet is now used like a telephone tree,' says Greg Peters, a Lafayette, Louisiana-based cartoonist and blogger who last fall helped evacuees access computers in that city's Cajundome shelter. 'When someone finds out about some hastily called planning meeting, they alert everyone through the blogs and get a crowd there to see what's going on.'
While it would have been nice to see some, you know, links in this article, they've been gathered in a second one, "Linking to New Orleans." Strangely, blogs are listed but not linked! there either, something I'll correct:
Most bloggers offer political commentary, on-the-ground reports of life in New Orleans, and links to other bloggers. The most insightful include "Your Right Hand Thief," "People Get Ready," "Suspect Device," "The American Zombie," "The G Bitch Spot," "Gentilly Girl," "Library Chronicles," "Suspect Device" [well, yeah -- ed.] and "Ashley Morris."
Well, we had one. :|

Wet Bank Guide: RICO for AllState?

Writing about this Times-Picayune article, Mark Folse ("Wet Bank Guide") asks:
Is there one remaining state or federal officials who is neither corrupt nor a vain careerist, one who is prepared to start treating the insurance industry for what is has become: a criminal, racketeering enterprise?

The definition of racketeering under the RICO statute is this:
(1) 'racketeering activity' means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year...' (emphasis mine)
If Allstate's announcement that owners must buy inflated cost car insurance from the company or have their homeowners insurance cancelled is not extortion, I don't know what is. I think the fact that Allstate's motivation is to try to cancel homeowners contrary to state law (in effect, using extortion as a means to circumvent state law) ought to be considered as well, to help demonstrate how the industry has devolved into a criminal enterprise.
I'll be adding "Wet Bank Guide" -- motto: "Remembering Katrina. Envisioning New Orleans." -- to the blog roll to the right.

October 17, 2005

My cold was so bad that when I woke up at 3 a.m. to pee, I never fell back to sleep. Laying down just makes my nose stuff and run and I can’t stop coughing. I’ve never worked this hard while being sick. I feel better being up and about, but I know I’m going to crash when I get back today. R. who will be leaving Wednesday, told me she recommended me to J. M. for her crew when J. asked, so if that happens, I’ll be going back into the 9th Ward.
This morning I walked into the section of the parking lot between us and the road, and to the west, still dark, I saw the just-waning moon, full and in extreme detail. The stars above, chased by the rising sun, still shone. I could make out Orion’s belt. Then, when I turned to the east to walk back to the building, I saw bright layers of magenta and orange laying on the horizon, harbingers of the yet unseen sun. It was such a remarkable combination of sights that I called the guard over to show him. He said, “You’re from the city, right?”
Last night, J., the newly-made assistant supervisor, did not sleep in her cot. R., whom she asked to move next to her, said she had spent the night in the hotel in Harvey (just south of NOLA), where M. and K. stay. He noted that certain of the group go there, and had a kind of fatherly concern for her. She’s old enough to know what she’s getting into. While we’re on the subject of shelter behavior, there’s an odd incidence of some of the 20-somethings getting into bed together in the morning and before lights out.
I’m too old or too weary or too something to concern myself about much that goes on here. It seems to operate much along the lines of a sleepaway camp. Cliques, special privileges, high school stuff. I guess I expected more from the people who volunteered. Between this and the management/organizational/communication problems the agency has, I begin to understand why some folks have turned off so badly. I’ve lost interest in learning to drive the ERVs. I don’t even care whether I stay on a crew. Just so long as I don’t have to be sent on pointless travels from pillar to post with nothing to do, I’ll be content.
Wednesday is my day off and I’ve put in for a car.

Short entry, as I am now sicker than ever and completely exhausted. They put me on an ERV with a completely inexperienced crew and driver, and I had to hold the driver’s hand through everything, including the light check. Plus I had to navigate us to the site, Municipal Auditorium in Louis Armstrong Park, downtown NOLA next to the French Quarter. We got off I-10 too soon, but drove right next to the Superdome. Not quite deserted, but the traffic was closer to 3 in the morning than a Monday rush hour. Things look sad.
I did so much work, my own and everyone else’s and the driver, T., did very, very little, and it was an extended run with no midday break, so it was tiring. I think it put me over the edge.
J. is not sending me out tomorrow. And Wednesday is my day off. Maybe I can recover.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

October 16, 2005

One week. 6 days in ERVs. Just as I’ve gotten to know folks, they are leaving. It was a very good day---2 runs to an assisted living home and a needy neighborhood. Happy people, so happy to see us. So many “God blesses” and I really love these people. They are truly a breed apart.
I’m tired and sick. Yes, sick, I admit it. My throat has been sore since last Thursday, and the infection in my chest/head keeps getting worse. I refuse to let it stop me. Everyone here has a cough or worse, it seems.
So tired. I keep wanting to write about things---the dragonflies, the moon, the look of the place, the plants---but I never seem to get to it.
Lights out, 5 minutes. I didn’t use to stay up this late. It was the diet cola.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

October 15, 2005

The month is half gone. Nonsense abounds here in the sleep-away camp/state hospital atmosphere of the Red Cross shelter. Some folks moved on this a.m., after being shunted around for 4 days to 3 other shelters. Others may have moved in—I don’t know anymore.

NOLA 127

This morning as I was getting ready to leave on my a.m. run, one of the crew, a guy who calls himself “V.”, who I worked with on 2 other runs, came up to me and told me I was rude, my behavior was unacceptable, I wasn’t a supervisor but I acted like one, and he wasn’t going to put up with it anymore. I thought he was joking and asked him if he was. He was serious. Saying I tried to boss everyone around. I was stunned. I had grown to dislike him during the last run we had together, but his take on me was like a blindside punch. I was stunned, not the least by the poisonous way he talked and the near-hate in his expression. I immediately went to J. and told her I would no longer work with him. She asked if I wanted moved to another crew, or wanted him moved. I said to leave it to R., the driver, and the upshot was he was moved while I stayed. Such weirdness.
Tempers are short and people behave in odd ways here. Rather than a group of adults who have thrown in their lot together to help others, the group sometimes seems more like a bunch of special needs kids in a state home. Not everyone. But enough so that the drama extends to the supervisors and managers.

NOLA 126

I’ve been here (in LA) a week now, and done 5 runs. I’m beginning to feel like a long-timer.
The place is packed with cots.
Still fighting off what feels like bronchitis. This a.m. my sputum came out very deep yellowish-green, a sign of infection, and I have been somewhat hoarse-sounding. I try not to let it get me down. I keep telling myself I’m getting better everyday.
K. went to spend the weekend at Wildwood with J & H. I keep forgetting it’s Satuday.
I’m getting used to the devastation all around me. Today we were at the “Katrina Dump” by accident.


The workers there were talking to each other about casualties, and I think they are still pulling bodies out of the wreckage. This was only a few miles from my shelter.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

October 14, 2005

I have postcards to send, but forgot about them.
Today things took a delightfully interesting turn. 3 of the older folks, R.(one of my drivers), L. (who worked with me a couple times), and La. (who lent me the eyeglasses kit) invited me to go on a sightseeing trip. R.’s ERV (I was on it today) was sent back after just one run, leaving me half a day to do something else. L. invited me, and I said yes.
Luckily, they stopped at Wal-Mart first, where I got my glasses fixed, got some fabulous maps, and some extra t-shirts. The place was inundated with shoppers, being one of the first major places to open in the area, and the lines stretched back halfway to the interior of the store. Only by sheer luck did I end up in a line that no one seemed to know existed, at the far end of the store, and was thus able to get out in less than an hour. Then we drove to NOLA and across the Causeway, the longest bridge in the world they said, that spans Lake Ponchartrain. We then turned east to Slidell, and then back down to NOLA via Rt. 10, which had been closed till today. The part of it that is bridge is actually 2 bridges, going north and south, and the northern bound bridge has great chunks of it missing from the flood waters of the Mississippi.

NOLA 079

We drove down through vast swaths of devastated land across the Bayou Sauvage. There were dead animals---cows, deer, alligator—and broken, flooded cars. A boat lay upside-down by the road; a yacht!! Long stretches of city were vacant.

NOLA 099

Nothing moved. Brick walls were torn asunder.

NOLA 083

I have become so accustomed to wreckage everywhere I look.
So, eventually we turned back north on 610 and headed back to Metairie, next to Kenner, in search of a Steak & Ale the others had been to once before. After a brief sidetrack while lost, we finally found it. What a treat! L. and I had strawberry margaritas, La. had a Bloody Mary and a C & C, and I ate salad (at last! Greens!!) and a Bourbon Street NY Strip cooked in bourbon and brown sugar, with garlic mashed. After the food we’d been eating, it was heaven.
I got plenty of gossip about the bizarre behavior of current and past volunteers, and a sense of how rampant drinking and fucking around are.
What a drag. The place is a mess so far as management, and and now we have even more new people. The place is beyond packed. M., the supervisor, had some kind of nervous breakdown and put J., who came down with me, in charge for 24 hours while he disappeared.
Chaos. Looms.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Part V

October 13, 2005

Evening, sometime---Time drifts into limbo here. It’s easy to forget what day it is. Today I didn’t go to NOLA. New ERV, new driver, 3 of the same crew as yesterday.
Since yesterday my throat and chest have bothered me, since going into NOLA. Today it was worse. Mold spores in the air there can set off instant bronchitis, and that’s how this feels. I’m fighting it. Today they told us the health and safety people insist on stringent control of contaminants when people come back from NOLA, meaning shoes must be dipped in bleach, and clothes must remain outside the shelter till they have been cleaned.
Today was exhausting. I can hardly write. Everything hurts. It will take awhile before my body adapts and starts to get stronger, but I don’t think I will be the same person I was when I get back.
We got something like 30 new people yesterday, and are getting more today. Like us they come in with their ready-made friendships, but unlike us they doon’t readily adapt. They got up this morning and made too much noise before 7:00 (the official “lights on” time in the shelter). Last night there was too much noise after lights-out. A guy moved in next to me and snored like a horror. Thank God someone got me earplugs. On top of that, I broke my glasses (fixed now with tape), my throat and chest were killing me, and my head ached. I didn’t get to sleep until after 11:00, and I’m usually gone before lights out (10 p.m.).
Must find an optician to fix my glasses.
Funny thing…in the middle of feeding a neighborhood, I must have accidentally hit a speed-dial button on my cell phone, because suddenly D.E. was on the phone while I was trying to plate food. I explained what happened and quickly got off. They want you to keep your phone with you at all times if you have one, so they can reach you or your ERV. Most times Dispatch can call up on the truck radios, but once in NOLA they don’t work anymore, and the only way to contact them is by phone.
Of course, the fact that cell service is spotty and intermittent doesn’t help, either.
Good grief.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Part IV

October 12, 2005

9:00 p.m.---I can’t believe I’m only just now writing. Today I went into New Orleans’ 9th Ward with a new driver, R, and crew: J., L. and “”V.” It was a problematic trip. We were sent to a Naval Support base to feed the troops, who turned out to have catered their food and had no need of us.

NOLA 067

Our dreams of a mobile feeding crashed when we realized it was the base we were being sent to. (Management hadn’t bothered to tell us till after we got there.) Even though we’d been briefed with scary stories, given 600 meals for an all-day trip, and warned to wear respirator masks and not to get out of the truck for any reason whatsoever, we took advantage of the otherwise pointless stopover at the base to use the bathroom, and gave the guards some fruit for their trouble.
This was extremely disappointing. When this turned out to be a bust we got permission to cruise the street we were assigned, which turned into a cruise of the neighborhood.

NOLA 066

(All communication had to be via our private cell phones because the truck radio systems, as we discovered, did not reach from dispatch in Kenner into NOLA. The problem is, cell phone service down here--across the entire area---is really problematic, too. You never know when you'll get through.) We were able to feed some folks, but there were very few there aside from some military personnel sitting in the streets and a group of folks with masks on gamely trying to sweep up an intersection. "V" completely ignored the directionswe'd been given and jumped out of the truck, carrying food up to people and running around in the streets. We ended up getting back on I-10 and trekking east across NOLA and back,

NOLA 089

then back into Kenner to what may have been a FEMA distribution center at a church, where we unloaded everything.
I’m pretty tired. It was a long, long day. Started at 5:30 a.m. when I got up, ended when I got back to the shelter about 7:15 p.m. The devastation was endless. And vast, and numbing. Being able to do some good was healing. And when I got back I ended up being a shoulder to cry on for the assistant shelter manager (J., one of the women I rode down from Baton Rouge with—her cot is beside mine). I also told M., the supervisor, that I wanted to get certified to drive the ERVs while I was there, and he seems open to it.
So tired. More in a.m.

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