Monday, May 11, 2009

Hurricane Katrina - Our Story - Part 5

Sept 2005
Days went on. Stress continued. We handled all the things you need to do. Apply for food stamps through the Red Cross. Apply with Fema for the $2000 evacuation money. Apply for $2000 from insurance company for being displaced to help cover expenses. We did it all.

I was keeping friends and family posted on what was going on via email on a regular basis. One surprise was an envelope that arrived in the mail at my in-laws from our friend Beth. She had emailed for our temporary address, but little did I know what she intended to send. It was two checks for $500! One was for us and another was for a guy, Jason, who worked with Hubby. Both Jason and Hubby worked with Beth in Pittsburgh. Beth and her husband Ray had become our friends and we knew some of their extended family. Beth collected $1000 from their family members. About 6 couples total I think? She split the money between ourselves and our friend Jason's family. I couldn't believe such generosity and that was just the first time I would cry from such acts of kindness. You must understand that Beth and Ray were not our best friends or super close to us. They were just a couple we met through my husband's job that we spent time with on occasion and enjoyed each other's company. So to have her do this for us meant so much and really sealed the bond between us. It really showed who they were. It was so unexpected. We didn't expect anything from anyone.

We finally secured a date to meet the insurance adjuster at our home. Hubby and I took off by ourselves back to New Orleans leaving our 2 1/2 year old daughter with my in-laws for the first time ever. She did fine. We just told her we were going to the airport to get mommy's car. Which was partially true but at that age time was not something she grasped.

Speaking of my car at the airport, hubby was watching a video of the hurricane that someone took from inside the airport parking garage. And in it he spotted my vehicle! He knew exactly where he had parked it in the outside parking lot by the fence and could see the sticker I had on my rear window in the video. However, when we actually returned to get the vehicle, the sticker was gone. The wind was so intense it ripped the cling sticker off my window. So the video must have been early on in the storm.

Anyway, we took off to the meet the adjuster. I got a little queasy and anxious as we got off I-12 and started approaching our neighorhood. I started to see just piles of debris along the roads. We pulled up to our house and it was just as I had seen in the video that hubby brought back from his first trip to the house. Bad. It was very sunny that day and hot! I walked around the property just looking. I peeked inside too. But we did not go in as we already knew our house was infested with fleas. Yes! Fleas!

Our neighbor and a good friend had entered our house many times to have service men look at restoring our electricity or to remove valuable items that might get damaged from the heat and moisture and lack of air conditioning. They had informed us of the flea infestation.

The lack of air conditioning infested our house with fleas. According to the exterminator, who had to treat our house THREE TIMES to kill all the fleas, the eggs were carried in by the dogs but since they were treated for fleas and our house was air conditioned the eggs never hatched. Well, when our house got damaged, lost electricity and was wet & hot inside it became an incubator and they hatched and went into survival mode (because no dogs were presnet to feed on) reproducing 4xs the normal rate. They survived off of each other and attacked anyone who entered the house! Gross! I know . . . Tell me about it.

I felt kind of helpless being there at the house. We didn't know what to do with ourselves as we waited for the adjuster. We did have a neighbor come over and tell us we need to get those trees off our roof or we will ruin the inside of our house. Like we didn't know that already. He basically told us to ante up the $5000! I wanted to tell him where to shove his glass of Merlot he was holding! Fortunately, we met some people staying with a neighbor who were in town to help clear debris and such. They offered to remove our trees and cover it with large blue tarps for $1200. Luckily, they got it done just in time for Hurricane Rita to roll in! Phew! And much to our luck Rita was the first rain since Katrina so our house did not get any more water in it.

We drove around town a bit and looked around. It was odd. Some things were back to normal and open for business but many were not. Or they were only letting in so many people at a time to a business because they lacked enough employees to sevice everyone.

We went to dinner at a co-worker's home. We sat among their extended family who lost their homes completely from flooding in the Lakeview area across the lake closer to New Orleans. It was a strange evening, yet sweet. We shared this tragedy with people we barely knew and some that suffered much worse than us. When I left I cried and thanked our hosts who just hugged me and assured me all would be ok.

We spent the night at our neighbors house. They were lucky enough to have electricity back on.

Then, the next morning the adjuster came . . .

Continue to Part 6....


Greta Perry said...

Thank you for sharing this!

judyb said...

Yes, thank you. I live in Slidell and we stayed for the storm. It was unbelievable right after, as if a bomb went off. Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your story. I am a Baton Rouge native, live in Missouri now.