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Family update

Someone emailed asking about the New Orleans family and Katrina, and I know I just stopped posting about things there. Mostly, I don't want to talk about it any more, though it may pop up from time to time as I get frustrated or angry. In the final tally, we lost one person entirely (one of the cousins), but we believe he's probably out there somewhere. The man was a bit of an unreliable bum, and it's relatively likely that he's wandered off somewhere and may resurface. The Parkinsons victim and the Alzheimer's patient have both been located, in separate nursing homes in TX and LA. The hurricane has caused rapid degeneration in their conditions, and the separation certainly hasn't helped. There is a lot of complex activity in trying to get them reunited and helped. It's truly frightening. Their other son is with a friend in MS, spiraling downwards into his alcoholism. No one quite knows what to do about him, in truth. All four of these relatives lost everything. Nothing was salvageable. The only one of them in any position to try to take advantage of FEMA's assistance in rebuilding is the one in MS. It's a terribly disheartening situation all around. I mourn the grapefruit trees and childhood days spent with red beans, beer, football, and not knowing how good we had it. Uncle Al is the only one of my side of the family who's escaped relatively unscathed. Now he wouldn't agree with that assessment, given that his ultra beloved and valuable vinyl collection has been seriously affected, but he's still got his health, his home, and most of his possessions. That works out with him ahead of the game by my reckoning. He continues to travel from friends' home to friends' home on a grand tour while he waits out the recovery of his hometown.

On my husband's side of the family, Uncle Rick is back uptown at his house and helping to clean up the neighborhood his house is located in. Tulane has had to let a lot of folks go (they're one of the two or three largest (possibly the largest) employers in New Orleans, and he was an assc. prof at the University College there), so he's got lots of time to devote. GaGa is still in VA with hub's parents, but she's really itching to go home. We're not sure how much longer we can get her to wait -- management of her apt. complex seems as if it will get Park Esplanade up and running again in a few more weeks, and once they're open, she's bound to go back. The rest of the J. cousins, aunts, and uncles are doing well, with some of them returned to the city and the rest settling into Baton Rouge for an indefinite period of time.

Apologies for leaving some of you hanging about the state of things here -- the devastation Katrina wrought is crushing when I think too hard about it. Much easier to let it sit under the surface. Husband is planning to make a trip to the city on his way to a convention in Houston (for work), and I'm involved with a group who's trying to help the student media organizations in New Orleans resurrect themselves in town. The universities have to put a higher priority on things other than student organizations for the time being, so alumni and other university groups are banding together to assist in the on-site resurrection. We had the honor of dinner with a Tulane BOA member and have been able to talk to Cowen a few times about the university and how the reconstruction is going -- I am in awe of the man who replaced Eamon Kelly at this point. It makes me redouble my wish that someday a Writercon will take place in New Orleans and to get back there some day.

I'm getting rambly, so it's time to end this...


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 12th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
[hugs you] Thank you for sharing what must be so painful for you. May your city rebound soonest.
Nov. 12th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for updating us on everything, Chris. *hugs you tight*
Nov. 12th, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC)
Nov. 12th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
Ramble on, sweetie.

::hugs you::

I'm totally cool with your not posting about the sitch. It's just too overwhelming, I know. And dealing with missing and/or traumatized family members? I know about that, too. Glad to hear, though, that Uncle Al is still perking along.

Ya know, it's damn difficult to make people understand just HOW badly New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have been damaged, and how long recovery is going to take. *sigh*

I do expect to have an eyewitness NOLA report from Fran next week. She went down this weekend to help her brother Gene move. His little apartment complex in Metairie wasn't badly damaged - just some roof problems, I think - but the landlord evidently realized he could be *creative* and get money for repairs out of FEMA and then raise the rent! So he told the tenants to get out, and started turning off services (like hot water!) to encourage prompt compliance. Gene was lucky and found a house to move into, but most of the other tenants are now "visiting" with friends or family members (and I assume, cursing a lot).

Nov. 13th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
I know it's probably of no use to Gene now, but what the landlord did is emphatically illegal...

Yeah. People honestly don't understand just how huge the devastation has been. There's such a spirit of rebuilding that people just sort of make assumptions that things must be going along okay, but at least in LA, historical political problems are looming HUGE, and the fact that NOLA was such a huge revenue source for the state really makes it even more difficult. I am as unimpressed with FEMA and the Red Cross as it's possible to be, really.
Nov. 12th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
::huge hugs:: I can't even imagine.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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