Saturday, July 14, 2007

Our neighborhood -- really it is!

Yes, welcome to our neighborhood. You might think I am kidding but think again -- everything you see in these photos is less than a 5 minute drive from our trailer.
I want you to look very closely at the top photo -- if you click on it you can enlarge it. The house on the right side has a hole in the ceiling. That is what saved the residents lives. They had to break through the roof to get out on top of it and save their lives. The neighborhood where these home are was under over 20 feet of water. If you also look closely at some of them you can see water lines. Those water lines are where the water settled. On some you can see more than one line. After the water completely covered them, even over the second story, it settled and sat for nearly a month. Take a good look at the garage of the one house and see where the brick itself cracked overhead. Garage doors are either knocked off completely or hanging by who knows what. Most of these homes have been mudded out, meaning the furnishings have been taken out. Some have been gutted, meaning sheetrock is gone, electrical is gone and all that is standing are the stud walls. Blue tarps put on roofs by FEMA are long shredded and blow in the winds now. Some homeowners do what they can to atleast mow their lawns. Others are most likely gone and the weeds have taken over. Sometimes that is a blessing as it hides some of the horrendous damage. In this area there were many who lost their lives. The spray painted markings made by the New Orleans Police Department (they were the ones who came through this area) are still on the homes, sometimes on the siding, sometimes on the brick, sometimes on the front door, but all are visible.
The last two photos are what used to be Six Flags. And yes, it is less than 5 minutes from us. The lettering on the sign saying they are closed due to the storm held more truth than they knew. The photo on the right is what is left, fencing closing the entire area, weeds taking over everything and what you cannot see is the damage to the equipment and rides. We were not allowed on the grounds. Trespassing will land us both in jail. But the feeling that I got just sitting at the gates, thinking of what it must have been like before the storm, the life, the laughter, the screams of excitement, the rides going around and around, up and down and upside down, seeing the roller coaster flying by and wondering how it stayed on the tracks -- and now all you feel is death or no life, however you want to word it! Weeds take over the parking lot when before you would no doubt drive around and around looking for a place to park. The dead trees laying everywhere, they couldn't survive being underwater for such a long time. It really brought home the utter devastation and death that came with this storm. The sadness can be overwhelming, the tears come before I even realize they are falling. The silence is deafening. And if you look closely you will see the enormous storm clouds overhead. It started pouring down rain before we could get out of the area. That just adds to the feeling.
Some people are trying to rebuild, some are out mowing what is left of their lawns, some are washing their cars, trying to have some sort of "normal" in their day, some have even planted a flower or two, again for the normal feeling. But most aren't even around. Most are gone for good, where? we have no idea. Will they come back? Who knows. I doubt if they know. What are they supposed to come back to?
This is where volunteers come in. If you could only see what happens when a group of volunteers drive up and unload at a home. It not only brings life into the area, it brings hope! Hope is the key! We may not be working on their home but if we are working on someone's home theirs just might be next. If they see some sort of progress on their neighbor's home then there might be some sort of progress coming for theirs.
Seeing all of this, and seeing it every day, seeing it everywhere we look --- prayer just comes naturally -- and constantly. Showing you these teenie, tiny photos is to show you a teenie, tiny reason why we need your prayers and your help!
Thank you for both.
Until tomorrow . . . God bless New Orleans! Susan and Monty

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