Gustav – The Real Story

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The Gulf Coast needs your help.  We were in a MANDATORY evacuation mode during the third anniversary of Katrina, no doubt because of the condition of the levees.  I physically checked, Gustav water did not touch the toe of the lake levees so this was not really a test, contrary to what the Corps indicates.  All the money spent has not done one thing to rebuild the barrier islands, restore wetlands or create incentives to raise buildings.  What has been spent?  What would it cost to do those three things?  Obama, what about you?  Has the good will and tax funds of the citizens of this country been squandered on crony private contractors?

It has been over a week and the commodities (local provides the POD and state provides the commodity) are only starting to arrive, although today it is reported they are out.  People could at least be using the commodities (if they existed) until the food stamp situation is worked out.  At least after Katrina, there were few problems with food stamps and unemployment, but Jindal, a typical republican cut funds and staff to social services.  People stood in line at 2AM and in the heat to be turned away at the food stamp Pod.  A thousand people a day at 35 locations to be handled in 7 days when 2 million people evacuated.  Governor Jindal, your numbers do not work. For the victim, it only works for the republicans (only1/8 of the people will be serviced).  Is this not a traditional corporate media story?   In fact, Jindals’s Social Services program director (Cheryl Michelet) is now on WWL radio (Tuesday @ 3PM).  She is a former media/PR model/stenographer and does not know how many people can be processed.  She has asked for those numbers, but all we get is PR.  She may ask for an extension from the federal government.  She also misstated the monthly income requirement ($3,000=incorrect vs $3,108=incorrect).  Hiring incompetent PR people is the mode of operation.  So if they can handle 1/8 in 7days, this should go on for 7 more weeks.   This is planned not to work,.  the locations and times keep changing (deliberate miscommunication).…

Bush and the Republicans actually changed the criteria after Katrina so that to obtain the food stamps to replace your lost food, there must be a face to face interview with pay stubs and bank records.  How many you think they can process?  It was recommended that the family send the “healthiest members”.  After Katrina, there was a one stop Pod for:  food stamps, UE, Red Cross, Blue Tarp Registration, ice, MRE, water and the Salvation Army serving food in the parking lot.  Now, you must spend time and gas going from site to site and line to line.  No doubt on purpose and to throw some business to the faith based organizations.  Hint – keep freezers low during hurricane season.  Take your milk cartons and freezer water.  This is also a good way to freeze headless shrimp in a block of ice.  I lined the bottom and top of the deep freeze with the blocks and lost nothing after 5 days of no power.  We cooked the Labor Day ribs before leaving and took the rest of pre-cooked pot food with dry ice.  It was either cook the meat or dig a hole and bury it.  I lost the stuff in the fridge.  

Today’s news “Thousands Line Up”, be sure you check out the armed military.  “Lost income, lost food and evacuation expenses”, we all shared in this disaster – just let people mail in receipts and cut a check.  Faith based and food banks are overwhelmed with food needs, where are the fricking MRE’s?…

“FEMA draws line on hotel tabs”.  Conflicting statements: “FEMA will not necessarily cover your evacuation expense even under a Mandatory Evacuation” vs “FEMA likely would pay back only the bills from 9/1 forward”.  Which is it?  Why not contract with your major hotel chains along the evacuation route as soon as the evacuations begin?…

Wages are being docked even though it was a MANDATORY evacuation because the FEDERAL levees could have failed again.  What about the business interruption insurance that most firms carry?  Why penalize and torment the little guy?  Everyone lost their perishable food which is why everyone needs the food stamps not based on income and bank account assets.  Food is a lot more expensive to replace then it was 3 years ago.  Everyone had gas, hotel and meal expenses.  The MANDATORY evacuation was declared on 8/31 but again Bush did not sign the federal declaration documents until 9/2 – only expenses from ?9/1 or 2 (conflicting info again) on will be covered.  Most people have fence, shingles and tree damage.  No way insurance will cover anything due to the hurricane deductible being a % of the policy (average $10,000).

I have raw sewerage on my lawn and the smell of spoiled food is through out the neighborhood.  Traffic lights did not work on the car pool ride yesterday morning.  I opened the paper this morning to find my neighbors were killed on the Mississippi clusterfuck non contra flow evacuation.  My heart is broken, I pass their house twice a day walking the dog and biking.  They were always on the porch.  They had not completed their Katrina repairs and lived in a FEMA trailer for 2 years – just got back in their house a few months ago.  A little piece of blue tarp is still on the roof.…

I-55 and 59 are FEDERAL highways, MS needs to be sued.  There were no bathrooms, gas, national guard and private law enforcement with guns.  Who authorized this shit?  The exits were blocked.  Read the NOLA blogs, there are photos.  Word is this was done to allow the Casinos to have a big Labor Day Weekend.  Baton Rouge was reluctant to cancel or postpone the LSU game and they got their asses kicked.  

I evacuated with my tenants who ended up swimming out of NOLA east, walked to the Convention Center and were bused to a military base during Katrina.  Do I take them back to the Convention Center to apply for food stamps?  What will that do to them mentally?  They will hold down the fort at my property next time as evacuation was worse then staying.  Most will stay next time even with the faulty FEDERAL levees.  Coast Guard needs to plan on lots of rescues.  

I guess we can anticipate an epidemic of mental health issues again.  It is a lot like the soldiers that continue to be sent into the war zone.  One bright spot is my kid seems OK.  I kept him attached to electronics and books instead of CNN.  It took 2 ½ years to get him counseling and we missed several appointments during Gustav.  I am sure we are not alone in the need for immediate follow up.  

I have unloaded the car, not unpacked and we are still living out of suitcases.  Boards are up, appliances on blocks in the garage and cargo carrier/shelf still on the Jeep.  I just hope we feel comfortable enough to get out of this run mode prior to the visit of my step daughter in early October.  I do not look forward to taking 1 kid, 1 large dog and 5 cats (4 Katrina) on the road again any time soon.

Terrebonne Parish and Baton Rouge still have no utilities so they cannot even get started on the clean up and paper work.  I am off to deal with Allstate, FEMA, food stamps, Red Cross, dirty hair and to reschedule missed appointments.  There are lots of haggard looking faces in this town as most people took a significant financial hit before the bottom fell out for the rest of the country.  Loosing wages, food and incurring travel expenses hurt many living paycheck to paycheck.  Congress, can you do something?

If I see or hear one more thing about Palin, I will pull all my hair out and get in the fetal position.  Can we fix it right this time?  The Democrats control Congress and can Obama come up with an immediate plan to make FEMA work before the election?  Use us as the experimental laboratory to do it right instead of wrong – surely Katrina templates exist and could be adjusted.  Please make Gulf Coast reconstruction a large part of the election agenda.  Get an extra debate scheduled.  If we do not protect this area like the Dutch water management system, you can kiss the port, seafood, tourism, music, gas and winter heat good by.  Please contact the Obama campaign and your Congress people.  We just got another punch in the gut and more shock.  The reality is hitting like a ton of bricks.  Now we have a bunch of broke and stressed out people driving around with fatigue and road rage.  We will all soon be medicated again, a lot like the military.  Can Congress fix this immediately so the Ike victims do not have to go through this?  Maybe, just maybe they will evacuate if they know they can catch up financially.

Why are fuel prices decreasing?  The Gulf has been evacuated for awhile and the refineries along the Baton Rouge corridor are without power?  Where is the report on rig damage?  Ike is heading to decimate the rest of the oil fields and refineries in Texas.  Bush just issued the emergency declaration for Texas.  I wonder if their expenses will be covered.  I guess he was on Labor Day vacation on 9/1 and had to wait until 9/2 even though we have a R governor.


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  1. … that Jindal’s rhetoric was only for public relations purposes.  Now I’m sure of it.

    So folks are going hungry and tied up in bureaucratic red tape because no one was thinking about people coming back, only evacuations.

    I’ve read some horror stories about what happened to some of the people who were bussed out in the evacuation, unable to even take a shower, ugh.

    Thanks for this, chigh — take good care of yourself.

    • Edger on September 10, 2008 at 23:45

    front page of the NYT, too…

    • chigh on September 11, 2008 at 02:49

    Hiding out now.

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