Monday, February 20, 2006

One house, one family, one story.

Our friends Pat and Michael’s house flooded in NOLA and they lost everything they owned. I stopped by to look at their house, which isn’t far from Lake Pontchartrain. They had about eight feet of water in their neighborhood, up to their roof eve. They only things they were able to save were some Christmas decorations that were in the attic and some crystal that amazingly wasn’t crushed.

From the outside of the house it doesn’t seem to be too damaged. But once you pass through the front door what you see inside is simply shocking - utter and complete destruction. It’s as if the house was shaken like a snow globe and then covered by a filthy murk and mold that is spreading like ivy all over the house. What’s hard to reconcile is the random nature of the destruction. Some things were tossed and shredded like the couch and frig and others remained quietly in their place like Pat’s glasses on the kitchen counter.

What’s left now is an eerie setting. You look around at all this violent destruction and yet there is a peaceful calm to it all. It’s quiet and still. What once was a happy home, full of a lifetime of possessions has become a tomb of sadness and loss. And this is repeated at the house next door, down the block, to the next neighborhood and the next town, across the state line into Mississippi. Thousands of families have had the same experience as Pat and Michael. They simply have lost everything.

I had dinner with them last night and while this has been an emotional rollercoaster and sometimes frustrating experience, I was amazed by their sense of optimism that they will recover and move on with their lives. How do they cope? Pat said, “Tomorrow is another day.”


Blogger E.J. said...

Just curious as to how the family is faring some 18 months after you posted this.
-e.j., new orleans

7:29 PM  

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