Sunday, September 07, 2008

EDOLA Gustav Update

Pete Nunnally, of EDOLA's Office of Disaster Response, sent the following wrap-up report about Hurricane Gustav to members of the EDOLA Rebuild team's Facebook group. And of course, Grandmère Mimi, who lives in Thibodaux, has a number of updates about her situation over at The Wounded Bird.
Hey guys, here's the report from Gustav. As someone who was there, I want to give an eyewitness account of some of the things that happened before and during the storm.

The city evacuation was excellent. they had 17 pickup sites for those who don't have cars, and they did their best to get the information out to people. The re-entry wasn't as good, but there are an incredible amout of moving parts that make perfection impossible. Mayor Ray Nagin, who has failed at pretty much everything since he's been in office, did a great job of scaring people into leaving the city. He was emphatic and serious, and he urged people to leave early.

Our team evacuated to Baton Rouge, and stayed at St James Episcopal Church. This actually put us right in the path of the hurricane, but St James is like a fortress, and we were very safe, and had a good deal of fun waiting out the storm. We lost power for a couple days, and then moved to St Alban's Chapel on campus at LSU. Go Tigers!! Baton Rouge was damaged pretty badly, mostly by fallen trees on powerlines, with some roof damage as well to houses and businesses. The place was pretty desolate, but we did find an asian seafood market open (running generators) the very next day!! We were hoping it was a chinese buffet, but close enough. Baton Rouge will be without power for the next few days, maybe even weeks.

We got back around Wednesday to a New orleans that was nearly deserted. There were and still are tons of military police and national guard troops ehre cruising in humvees and carrying M-16s. The media seems to think this is a bad thing. UNTRUE. We all love the fact that there are a lot of troops in the city now. They are keeping New Orleans safe and preventing looters--thank God for them, and we'd love them to stay as long as they want!!

We are continuing to work on rebuilding houses flooded by Katrina. The need only becomes greater as the days wear on; imagine how much you want to be home now after another hurricane comes through and you're still in a trailer.

We are opening another front on the war on hurricanes, however, and are busy helping some parishes become community centers, where those without power can come and enjoy some air conditioning, and have a place to relax that isn't their home. These parishes can become a distribution center, or a place where people can list their needs and others can list what they can offer. For instance, If one neighbor has a chainsaw, and another has a tree on their house, they can help themselves out. We're also busy coordinating supplies and ferrying them in from out of town and to the places they're needed. There is still a huge lack of gas in some areas (lines a mile long) and prices for some things have gone out of control. So goods from out of town is the best thing so far. We're currently working in small town/rural areas west and north of baton Rouge, ane we're about to start delivering resources to hard hit areas south of New Orleans, in areas like Houma (Homah) and Bayou Du Large.

Please, if you feel moved to donate goods or money for us to buy them (sometimes more efficient) contact me and we'll direct the resources to where they're most needed. Rent is still due for many folks, and rent assistance is another need, along with toiletries, diapers, baby wipes, tarps, etc. If you know of anyone in Texas or Alabama or Mississippi or Northern Louisiana who wants to help us, please get them in touch with me!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. More updates to follow...
Pete

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