Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Yesterday I realized that I didn't know how Handsome Willy's weathered Rita, so I wanted to go out to check on it and grab some things like the remaining AG t-shirts, the leftover issues of IMBIBE, and a basket of albums AG reviewers had yet to get to.

The area around Willy's was much less active than it was the last time we were there, and Michelle and I weren't stopped once we got across the Mississippi River Bridge. When we pulled up to Willy's I realized I'd taken Michelle's keys instead of mine, so I didn't have my key to the office. I remembered that the door on the roof was blown wide open by Katrina, so I just hopped on the ice machine and walked in.

When I was nearly done grabbing everything Jarret and Justin, two of the three owners of Willy's, showed up, and it was good to see those guys again. It's nice to see a N.O. business not even sweat what's going on. Their landlord is either going to renovate their building or demolish it and rebuild, but either way there will be a Handsome Willy's again. They say that if they have to cut grass until the building is ready and they can reopen the restaurant then that's what they'll do. They're solid guys and I'm glad we partnered AG with them.

After leaving Willy's I wanted to check out Crescent City Comics. CCC has been the shop I've gone to since 1996, when the comic shop I went to as a kid closed up. I've grown pretty close to all the guys who work, and worked, there, and Les, the owner, let me work my first comic convention in 2000. I worked a total of five with those guys, and they were all great experiences I wouldn't have had otherwise.

The shop is near the lakefront and right by the University of New Orleans. The entire area had floodwater, up to ten feet. Driving down Elysian Fields was like driving into our neighborhood in Mid-City, with the abandoned houses, the waterlines, the dead lawns and the smell of floodwater and mold.

It's still amazing to me that boats are randomly plunked down on the side of the roads.

This is the front of the shop. It's in a small strip, above the dry cleaner, with a nail salon and a place that puts logos on stuff. Since the shop's on the second floor it didn't get water, though it was close. You may not be able to see the waterline, but it's a third of the way up the pane of glass above the door.

The dry cleaner, even though they'd boarded up, had their windows blown out, from water pressure inside, I guess.

When we walked up to the shop I first thought someone had broken in because the window next to the door was busted and a ladder and some pieces of wood had been laid on the stairway. It turns that's just where the water dropped them. Since the window was busted we climbed in and went up the stairs.

This is one photo from the inside of the shop.

Probably about 50% of it will be salvageable. Parts of the roof fell in and water seeped in along the perimeter of the shop, ruining the racks of new comics. Most of the back issues were okay, along with most of the trades. It was dark inside and the batteries in my camera were low so I couldn't use the flash continuously.

I called Les to give him updates and looked for a few things he wanted. He'll probably pick me up today so I can help board up the shop.

I can't imagine anything in that immediate area that's on the first floor being usable in the forseeable future. The grocery store across the street from the shop looked completely flooded out, other shops were destroyed. I know people who lived near there too, and the water only got deeper the further you went into the neighborhoods. I know how bad my place looked with less than six feet of water in it. I don't even want to imagine what houses look like with the water over the doors.

Today I'm going into TwiRoPa to help someone take their equipment out, so I'll have pictures of that later today.
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