Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Saturday, September 17th (Part 2: Our House)

I will say this: the power of the press is large and far-reaching. When Michelle and I pulled toward Canal St. after getting off of HWY90 at Claiborne, a trooper stopped us and asked, "You want a free tetanus shot?"

"What," I asked.

"A free tetanus shot. Have you had one in the last five, maybe even ten years?"

"Yeah, I think."

"Okay, you're good to go. Drive safe."

And off we went into a part of the city that's not supposed to open for weeks. We took a left on Canal and headed towards our house.

Canal St. is busted up pretty bad. There are cars with dust all over them, and boats parked in the median.

Wiped out cars are parked on curbs (in an effort to get a few inches higher, I guess). Windows of cars and buildings are blown out. The worst thing we saw was the water line. It's like some giant had put three huge crayons in a vertical line in his hand and walked down Canal St., making lines on the buildings the whole way.

We went the wrong way down the one way that is our street. No one was around to give us a ticket, anyway. We saw a maybe potted plant weighing maybe eighty pounds turned over. The hundred pound outdoor chimney my mother bought us was turned on its side. Michelle's car was still parked in the driveway. It turned out to be a total loss. And she only had liability insurance.

The waterline outside the house was just a tad under my chin. Our keys didn't work. The door's wood was expanded from over a week of being submerged in water and then more than a week of drying in the humid and sunny heat. I had to kick it in. It wasn't difficult, either. It took only four or five tries, I think.

We knew we had water in the house. Obviously, if we didn't think so before we made the trip in we knew by the time we saw the water line. We were optimistic, though. We thought, all but knowing that we had over 5 feet in the house, that a decent bit of our stuff would be salvagable. Not our furniture and not our clothes, but maybe, if we were lucky, those books higher on our shelves and things on top of the bookshelves.

Before we left, for reasons I can't remember, I took pictures of our place. The first picture is of our living room and study area, the second is of our bookshelves.

The minute I kicked in the door, though, all expectation changed.

To say words cannot describe a situation like this is just wrong. The easiest thing to say is that it's fucked up. Demolished. Destroyed. Catastrophic. Cataclysmic. Some words may seem overbearing, but when you're standing there looking at all your possessions scattered about like Neptune flailed about your house, no situation can seem worse. It makes you wonder whether it'd be easier if a tornado simply hit the house and flung everything to another city. At least then you don't have to walk on things that used to be on bookshelves.

Seeing my comics strewn about was the hardest. I've never been a mint freak, meaning I didn't really care if my comics were in the best condition. If I could read them, that was the important thing. I do have a theory about books though. They're like furniture. You buy a book to read just like you buy a couch to sit on. Sure, the book or couch will be messed up eventually, but you like to keep it in the best condition possible for as long as possible. To see my books in the worst condition they could ever be in, and to walk on them, seemed preposterous.

The rest of the house didn't fare any better. In our bedroom, our chest-of-drawers and my desk were flipped on their backs and full of mold. Our refridgerator was turned on its side. Our couch was pulled three feet from the wall, also full of mold. Oddly enough, our coffee table was in the exact position we left it in, and papers I'd left on top were not only where they were, but dry.

The side of the fridge.

There were a few salvageable things, but not nearly as many as we'd expected. Some posters, some pieces of art that were high enough.

I took exactly one comic from my house. I happened to have a TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1 in a hard case hanging on the wall, and it was above the water line. That was the one comic I took, out of all the others that lay on the ground there. I took some of the posters, too, and some action figures that were above the walkway. One comic.

After we took what we could, we decided to go explore.
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