Friday, September 5, 2008

The drive home, part two

A long line of cars headed into New Orleans at the merger of I-55 and I-10

Thursday morning I arose and loaded up my vehicle, iced down the remaining food items and left the camp around 10:30 a.m. Despite advice from a couple of people, I decided to take a chance and use Interstate-55 for reentry into New Orleans. Traffic was steady and flowing with only a few pockets of what I would term slowdowns where we creeped along at 25 or 30 miles an hour. The only major bottleneck was at the point where I-55 joins Interstate 10. I was there just in time to see the long line of blue flashing Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's deputies cars escorting a long caravan of yellow school buses filled with hundreds of our very own criminals to Orleans Parish Prison. It certainly made one proud.
A quick trip to Kosher Cajun Delicatessen and Grocery allowed me to enjoy a bowl of steaming matzah ball soup and a triple salad combination of tuna salad, potato salad and cole slaw. It was quite good and, as it turns out, necessary to prepare me for the rest of the drive.
The trip from Jefferson Parish into New Orleans seemed normal until I got off the exit for Howard Avenue near my home. It was then that I noticed quite a number of downed trees, especially palms and a few pines. Several oak trees had also been toppled by the force of Gustav's winds. As I approached Vendome Place, I noticed the tin roof from a truck leasing business was lying in the front of a next door residence:

There was the usual amount of debris on the streets, especially tree limbs from oaks that find their way into city streets and sometimes impede traffic flow. Luckily for me there were no large limbs blocking my way and I proceeded down Vendome. I spotted an unlucky victim of Gustav, a column on the portico of a home that was now pointed out toward the street:

I proceeded up Vendome to where it intersects with Fountainbleau Drive, near my home and made the turn onto Nashville Avenue. There I found my home somewhat shaken, but definitely marked by Gustav's gusts. The carport that had survived Katrina and all other hurricanes and tropical storms for the last 20 was gone! Only the rigid poles that held it in place remained stationary. Some pieces were in the driveway, but most had been blown into my back yard. The force of the winds had literally torn the carport from the side of my home:

Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't in love with my carport, but it was useful, especially when I had to enter my home in a torrential downpour. It did have a hole put into it one New Year's Eve by a falling bullet that bounced off the roof of my car and came to rest underneath the vehicle. Yes, in New Orleans it is advisable to stay off the open air streets during New Year's Eve. But I guess what struck me was that even with such powerful force evidenced by Gustav's effect on my home, it couldn't compare with the destruction wreaked on it by the floods that came after Katrina. The hurt from Katrina was on the inside rather than that which showed so readily on the outside following Gustav. Meanwhile, many residents of Jefferson and Orleans Parish are still without power. My power is on and I enjoyed a restful night in my own bed for the first time since Saturday night. May it ever be so humble....

1 comment:

carolslilacs said...

Welcome back home! I'm glad you and your belongings are (mostly) safe. Have a good and restful Shabbat!