Sunday, September 25, 2005

How do you define “livable?”

Now that Rita has passed, perhaps the reconstruction and “repopulation” of N.O. can begin. We cannot yet even get into the city to see our house. A preliminary report by our flood insurance adjustor indicated that the first floor is wrecked, but the second floor is OK.

It sounds straight out of “Alice in Wonderland.” When you bulldoze the first floor, does the second stay suspended, or does it lower itself to the first floor? Simple, says the adjustor. Just replace all the first floor studs one at a time. I feel certain that it is easier to save what contents we can salvage, and then plow it under.

Plow our wonderful house under! We felt a sense of loss when we put it up for sale, but this is worse.

Housing is impossible in the N.O. area, and, as I hear it, life is like the frontier --- few provisions or services available. We have first refusal on a couple of apartments owned by friends, but they will probably be ready before we would feel comfortable about moving back.

Columbus is a nice town, and we plan to stay here until the news from home is not so bleak. We expect to have a white Christmas here before that happens.

Matt is at LSU and seemingly doing well. We have not seen him since the hurricane, but talk a couple of times a week. He is living with his friend Justin and Justin’s parents in Baton Rouge. The Bantuelles have been wonderful to Matt and us.

Matt feels almost at home, but occasionally asks about the status of our “real” home. He has offered to try to see our house, but Susan worries about his picking up some dreaded disease from the sludge that now serves as ground level. He still wants to graduate from UNO, but we have no idea what form UNO will take for next semester.

We spend a remarkable amount of time just re-acquiring the near-necessities of life. We have few clothes, and what we have will not be warm enough before long. Neither of us does well “off the rack,” and good alterations are hard to find. Because we don’t know all the stores or the local geography, we are probably not very efficient.

These are pretty minor inconveniences compared to what many have suffered, and we feel incredibly lucky that this is all we have to contend with. And even these are overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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