There is now a backlog of photos coming in from New Orleanians for which I am grateful. This one came over last weekend just when I was getting back home to NYC. And, it is some of the most practical, frank and funny pieces of advice thus far. This is from Regan:
"I was born and raised in New Orleans, grew up with hurricanes, and know all about hoarding water in buckets for after storms and masking taping windows.
I was living uptown before Katrina and decided at the last minute to evacuate with my boyfriend. We dropped our supplies at my grandparents house because they refused to come with us, and headed to Baton Rouge. We stayed with a friend there for one night and then headed to Houston where some friends took us in for a week. From there we moved to another friend’s house in Austin and it eventually became clear that we weren’t going to be able to go home. We got an apartment in Austin and moved in with a borrowed bed, couch, and tv and waited to rebuild our lives. It was 8 weeks later that our zip code was reopened and we got to go home. But our home wasn’t a place suitable for living as it took in about 4 feet of water and the roof blew off the back rooms. We managed to save enough stuff to fill the bed of a pickup truck.
Seeing the furniture I had inherited from grandparents ruined was heartbreaking, seeing our home office full of computers flooded was painful, but dealing with our fridge that had flipped on to its side and spilled rotten food all over our kitchen was impossible. If you can, just throw your whole fridge out without opening it (be sure to tape it closed before moving it). And if you can’t, wear a mask sprayed with lavender oil while you clean it. Everything else I was able to deal with, but rotten food just about did me in.
I’m now living in Austin, raising a family here. I still have many family members in New Orleans and I worry every hurricane season for them. But I know if the city were to suffer another storm, it would survive. New Orleans has been through it once and can do it again. We’re a bunch of party loving drunks who have survived against all odds. New York might seem bad now, but you’re way more organized than we ever were. Your sense of community is already there, whereas we had to build the community togetherness after Katrina. You WILL survive. As long as you don’t open that damn fridge.”
Photo courtesy of Regan