Saturday, September 24, 2005

How New Orleans fared after Rita seems to be debatable. The areas reported as reflooded yesterday got worse overnight, and buildings in Chalmette and the 9th Ward are toppling over now since they were already weakened by Katrina. The Industrial Canal was breached yet again yesterday, which caused the reflooding, though it doesn't seem to be quite as high as it was a few weeks ago. I haven't heard about any other flooding in the city itself, but some parts of Jefferson Parish didn't do so well.

Lafitte, which is generally a fishing community, was flooded waistdeep, according to the Times Picayune. Many homes are raised there, but many are also close to the ground, so some are flooded. My family has ties to the city, which is a twenty minute ride from my parents' house in Marrero.

My brothers have gone to school in Lafitte for at least ten years. My mother put them out there because she liked their schools' special ed programs better. Over the years they've made many friends out there. My parents' across-the-street neighbors know quite a few people from there too, since one is a shrimper and the fishing community is tightly knit. My friend Mike is from Lafitte and still lives out there. He'd already left to stay with his girlfriend, who lives closer to my parents,' and, if the water is only waistdeep like they're reporting, his and his parents' places should be okay.

These people in Lafitte have already been through a lot. Even if their homes weren't damaged by Katrina, all that sludge water drained from the city and dumped into the Gulf has all but destroyed the seafood industry for at least three years. How these people are going to make money, I don't know.

The most frustrating thing isn't the reflooding, or even the new flooding in Lafitte. It's knowing that another one of these can pop up in another week or two and do even worse damage. A few computer models of Rita have it actually turning around and going back into the Gulf, just under New Orleans! It wouldn't be the first time a hurricane has hit land, went back into water and restrengthened.

I haven't even talked about Lake Charles, which was on the east side of Rita. I don't have nearly as many ties there, but a few friends have parents there, and if Lake Charles took a near-direct hit, Lafayette probably has some damage too. Lafayette is where Michelle and I were trying to get a place to live, and so many N.O. people are staying after Katrina.

Hopefully I'll have some more info the later in the day we get.
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