Archive for the 'hurricanekatrina' Category

The Future of the Slidell Blog…

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Welcome to the Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog (back in action)!  Following the disaster wrought by hurricane Katrina in 2005 the Weblogs Work team was feeling helpless.  Brian Oberkirch, a member of the team and long time friend, had evacuated to Dallas from the small town of Slidell outside of New Orleans.  His town was devastated, but he was desperate for more information.  We launched the Slidell Hurricane Blog initially as a way to distribute the information he had about his town.  Soon we received thousands of messages from towns throughout the Gulf and the blog became a conduit for information.  We wrote about our experience on the primary Weblogs Work blog.

Since April of 2006 this blog has remained dormant collecting thousands of comment and trackback spam messages.  We didn’t even bother to upgrade to the new version of WordPress (shame on us).  Brian is starting his own more general site to provide a dynamic conduit for disasters in general and we decided to remove the Slidell blog.

Whoa! Was that a mistake or what?  Our phones started ringing, our IMs started blazing and our email boxes began to fill.  Clearly, many of you really want us to keep this blog alive.  As you can see it is back up, comment spam and all.  Over the next few days we are going to work on ways to make the blog more relevant to future disasters, while honoring the work the team previously did.  So check back, especially if there is any news of a new threat in the Gulf of Mexico.  Please accept our apology for taking the site down and be assured that we will keep it running for the foreseeable future.

Slidell Pontchartrain Drive - katrina +1

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

Slidell Pontchartrain Drive - katrina +1
Originally uploaded by Brian Hursey.

Ponchartrain Drive, with a fair bit of Lake Ponchartrain still on it, the day after the storm.

Hurricane Season: 51 Days & Counting

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Originally uploaded by Brian Oberkirch.

The disaster persists.

Signs of Life on Hwy 11

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Our trusty seafaring correspondent Bianca Brooks sent us this update some time ago, about signs of life in the Hwy 11 area.

We saw last night that the Winn Dixie on Hwy 11 is reopening for business today!

Vera’s has a sign up near the Hwy 11 Bridge that they’re planning to reopen in the spring.

Construction on Southside Cafe is progressing rapidly after their devastating fire right before they tried to open in early November.

Jack’s has put a trailer in front of their Hwy 11 location and is open for business.

Eden Isles Hardware has had a propane tank delivered, they’re waiting on electrical hookups to start selling.


Slidell Stories for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Help us tell your stories.  We got an email from a producer at Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition looking for inspiring stories of need/heroism/etc.  here in town.  Post your stories in the comments, use the self-posting feature listed in the right sidebar, or (as an option of last resort) email me.

Hey Brian - been looking at your blog, and my name is Vinny Rutherford & I’m
a producer on the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC. We’re
currently researching stories regarding the victims of this past hurricane
season and the rebuilding efforts in Texas, Mississippi, New Orleans &
Florida. We’re going to be shooting these 1 hour episodes in Feb., and I’m
part of the team assigned to the New Orleans area.

Our execs feel strongly about using our shows popularity by doing some
projects that will have an impact on the community as a whole like
rebuilding playgrounds, get supplies to schools, rebuilding food ministries,

In addition to that we’re also looking for personal stories and how maybe we
can help individual families in some way. From throwing a wedding that got
cancelled to helping a displaced family who has a member that needs a bone
marrow transplant, right now the range is that wide. By doing all of this
it’s our hope that what is happening down here gets back into the national
news cycle in a positive light and ultimately, get more help from the rest
of the country.

I recently had a meeting at Mt.Olive AME Food Ministry with the Mayor,
Police Chief and other town officials of Slidell. We’re currently
considering doing a project or projects in Slidell and are wondering what
needs the community has and I’d like to hear it from the people themselves
as well.

If you could ask your readers, what they’d like us to do (aside from
building them a house, we’re not doing that on the specials)- do you need
anything that the storm destroyed, etc…are there any personal stories of
heroism, or going above and beyond the call of duty - things of this nature.
Write or give me a call at my New Orleans cell. The more stories I have in
Slidell the better the chance they’ll choose this town to shoot in.


It’s a Blue Roof Christmas Again @ Lakeside

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

NWS1204_BLUETARP_P1.JPG.jpg Perhaps you’ve followed the on-again, off again, now on again saga of the unique holiday display at Lakeside Mall.  (Me, I can’t get anywhere near the Christmas spirit just now, but I’ll work on it.)  Short version:  the displays at Lakeside typically have some fun built in, this year, naturally, it has some storm elements.  (Can *you* have a conversation in which the storm doesn’t come up?)  A few too-fair folks complained, and the mall managers flinched.  Had them take it down.  It appears after hundreds of complaint emails, it’s back.  Hooray.   I’ll take a double dose of the funny, please. 

Bummed out? You’re not alone.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Not sure about you, but I’ve had more than my share of freakout lately.  Seems as though I’m not alone.  My doc says he has about 6 to 10 patient discussions about depression each day.  Plus, this recent Chris Rose column puts it as only Chris Rose can put it:

It has been said to me, almost a dozen times in exactly the same words: "Everyone here is mentally ill now."

Some who say this are health care professionals voicing the accumulated wisdom of their careers and some are laymen venturing a psychological assessment that just happens to be correct.

With all due respect, we’re living in Crazy Town.

The only lines at retail outlets longer than those for lumber and refrigerators are at the pharmacy windows, where fidgety, glassy-eyed neighbors greet each other with the casual inquiries one might expect at a restaurant:

"What are you gonna have? The Valium here is good. But I’m going with the Paxil. Last week I had the Xanax and it didn’t agree with me."

We talk about prescription medications now like they’re the soft-shell crabs at Clancy’s. Suddenly, we’ve all developed a low-grade expertise in pharmacology.

Everybody’s got it, this thing, this affliction, this affinity for forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, confusion, laughing at inappropriate circumstances, crying when the wrong song comes on the radio, behaving in odd and contrary ways.


Whoa. Check with FEMA Before Making Repairs

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Check this story on WWL tonight:  residents of Slidell are being warned to check with FEMA before making repairs.  The extent to which your home was damaged could mean that you have to raise it up or face a serious hike in flood insurance premiums.

 Read the whole thing.

Twin Span Opening?

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Jeepers, check it.  Here is says that one of the twin spans will open today.  Good news.

Slidell Job Fair Set for 11/1

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

via NO CityBusiness:

SLIDELL — The Louisiana Department of Labor will hold a Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 Second St. The event is free to employers and employees. Space is limited for employers and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. To participate, contact Shane Boucher at•

Slidell Habitat House Featured on Today Show

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

The Today Show was in Slidell, ahem, today.  Here is a link to one of the stories. Judy Farrow had told me about this yesterday, and I had some really good info & I should have alerted you all.  But, sorry, I slacked.  So busy since we got home.  Anyway, enjoy a bit of good news. 

Magic Comics Temp. Storefront

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Or virtual storefront, as it were.  Carey sends along this note:

Hello, I just wanted to let the customers of Magic Comics & Hobbies know that we are getting in a limited shipment of comic books this coming wednesday, the 5th, and you can call David Strecker at 985-649-4171 or email Carey Townsend at careyt (at) to get in touch with us to setup a time and way to buy your comic books from us since our store was ruined and we haven’t opened up a new storefront yet. Please get in touch with us even if you can’t buy anything yet just so we know you’re okay and to get your contact info if we don’t already have. Thank you!!!! 

More Slidell Photos

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Here is a link to more Slidell images.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve limited out on these.  Plus, driving through these areas doesn’t compare to seeing the images.  It’s overwhelming.  We worked today gutting a house off Indian Village Road and at another place in Eden Isles.  Focus helps.  I encourage you to find someone to help or to give someone a specific task they can help you with.  Help someone clean up.  Gut their house.  Watch their kids.  Buy them some new clothes.  Cook a meal.  Talk to them and give em some much needed love.  We’re all in this together. 

Pearlington Needs Your Help, too

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Clayton is, I spose, from Pearlington, but he’s been in Slidell quite a bit.  Takes really amazing photos.  Check this blog.  Update:  the more I read, the more I see that we need to take action over there as well.  Clayton posted a list of specific needs yesterday.  Basic things — all the staples — and bigger things as well.  If you’ve got your basic stuff handled here in town, consider running over to Pearlington to see what you can do there.  [via John Wagner]

Looking for Information on the Homrich’s

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Can someone help here?  I did quick searchs on and on our Wiki & Seeker sites, but didn’t find anything.  Melissa is with the Salvation Army in Seattle and is trying to help out:

My name is Melissa and I work for The Salvation Army in Seattle,
Washington.  We received a handwritten note on the back of a donation slip,
written in shaky hand, from a man named Lyle Homrich.  He said he had had
no news of his niece and nephew in Slidell, their names are Jan-Marie
Homrich and Jack Homrich, Jr.  I have searched on-line at the Red Cross
site and several others and have had no luck; I don’t know if you are aware
of any other way to find out about these folks?  It looks like your blog is
all-things-Slidell, do you have any advice?

Melissa Nakamura
NW Divisional Social Services / Statistics
206.217.1209 FAX


The New Normal

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

This blog is a running account of what it’s like in Slidell post-Katrina.  I really identify with her POV.  Even if you were lucky and your house isn’t zapped, our town is zapped.  1/2 of it really wiped out.  Our friends, families, businesses.  Fuses & tempers short.  Frustration.  Traffic.  Hassles.  Too little insurance payout.  Moving & relocation.  Shortages.  It’s going to take all of us pulling together.  We’re all in it together.

Here’s a snippet from this blog:  

Four Weeks after Katrina

It is hard to believe so much time has passed. For most people, every day is the same. It is another day past Katrina. It is hard to remember the day of the week or the date. It does not mean the same thing here.

Today has been a good day for me. Two wonderful things have happened. All of my trash has been picked up. It was piled high at the street - next to all the tree debris. Finally, four weeks of garbage, spoiled food and other refuse finally gone. One less reminder of a city struck down. I am lucky. Many people have not yet had trash service. As I move my cans back, I check my mail box. I have mail! I cannot believe it. It is the first time that I have received my bills at my house. The post office in town flooded and all the mail trucks. We have had to stand in long lines at the post office – waiting in turn to show an ID in order to get mail. The traffic to the smaller operational post office on the west side of town backs up, creating road jams.

Traffic here continues to be a large problem. A twenty-minute drive on the interstate to the town to the west takes 1-½ hours. Going to the town twenty minutes to the east in practically unthinkable. There is little left. No one knows why traffic is so bad, there is no local news coverage on the television (for those who have TV services) and I have yet see a print copy of the local paper.

I listened to a woman today, speaking through tears , about the south side of Slidell. It has been completely destroyed. Half my town – gone. So many people are homeless – so many are frustrated with insurance problems and the enormous task of meeting their family’s basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Security is a big issue. The future is a scary question. It is ground zero – and we are not alone. St. Bernard is gone, New Orleans is hurt bad, and the Mississippi coast, still almost imcomprehnsible for me to grasp that an entire coastline is gone.

Sentry on Palm Lake Rita Flooding

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Piece in yesterday’s paper about the 2 to 4 foot floodwaters from Rita that hit Palm Lake, Chamale & Bayou Liberty last weekend.

SLIDELL - Hurricane Rita delivered another blow to residents of the Palm Lake subdivision last weekend when waist-high flooding floated curbside debris back inside homes, negating a week-long cleanup effort.
While not all the debris was displaced, it was enough to give those residents a second awakening to the devastating effects of hurricanes.

The waterside subdivision of Palm Lake and stretches of Bayou Liberty Road and Chamale Cove recorded the worst hit from Rita, raising the water two- to four-feet and forcing Slidell Police Department to cordon off the area until it subsided, said Slidell Police Capt. Rob Callahan.

Red Cross Station Open At Old Outlet Mall

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Via WWL web site comes word that the Red Cross has a drive-thru center open at the old outlet mall for those seeking financial assistance:

Slidell opens drive thru Red Cross aid station
04:48 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 28, 2021
Kelly Gustafson / City of Slidell
The American Red Cross has opened a "drive thru" operation for residents in impacted areas to register for financial assistance. They will be operating for the next two weeks in the Slidell outlet mall on Old Spanish Trail. Hours of operation: Monday - Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Police are directing traffic but it is extremely slow along I-10 and the main roads leading to Old Spanish Trail at this time. Residents are advised to wait a few days until the "rush" of people subsides.
The Red Cross will continue operating in Slidell every day for the next two weeks.

Now Broadcasting via the Obernet

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Sweet Jesus, I love our broken little town.  And it is broken.  Let’s fix it.


Texas Exodus

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

As the woman says, we’re going to Slidell to look for our joy.  The Dallas-version of the Slidell Hurricane Damage Blog was supported, turbocharged, egged on and loved into existence by the following angels:

Jon & Karen Spencer, Hope Oberkirch, Janna Dunnagan, Alex Muse, Kevin Marvin, Architel, Jerome Brock, David Parmet, Hugh MacLeod, Britt Blaser, Doc Searls, Fred Wilson, Derek Babcock, Danielle Fontenot, Mary Ann Benvenutti, David Cry, Jeremy Pepper, John Wagner and all of you.  You sent in things you knew.  Asked the questions that needed asking.  Helped our neighbors where you could. 

What else helped:  Olivia, Jackson,  Ivy.  Mamere & Pappy.  Starbucks.  Bourbon.  Instant messaging.  Deep fried apricot pies.  Sonny Bryan’s & countless rounds of Texas BBQ.  Home cooked suppers.  Calls & emails from friends everywhere.   Cold Shiner Bock.  Being able to watch and listen to WWL & WDSU over the InterWeb.  Walking.  Praying.  Better Than Ezra, Breaking Benjamin, King’s X, loud.  The local schools showing such kindness to my kids.  News from home.  Watching the bravery & strength of those handling the aftermath.   Your pictures & reports.  Hope.  Neighbors.  Sour cream chicken enchiladas.  The Red Cross.  All my family. 

We’re going home.  We’ll keep blogging and letting you know what we know. 

SOS: Save Our Small Businesses

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Here’s a piece in the News-Banner about the obstacles facing Slidell small businesses.  According to the article, the Chamber has heard from only 200 of the more than 700 small businesses in town.  They quote the owner of Dunaway’s at length in the piece.  He wants everyone to know that he’s open for business.  Earlier, I circulated an email from Doug Reker which listed places he knew were open on East Gause.  Let’s create a running list.  Send me what you know about our local businesses.  Who’s open?  Who needs help?  If you have a choice about where you’re going to spend your money tonight, spend with a local small business.  They need our help and support.  & will for some time.  More from the article:

The temporary shortage of power was just one more blow dealt weeks after Hurricane Katrina battered Slidell, leaving two to eight or more feet of water in some businesses and leaving others in a heap of splinters and concrete slabs.

"Honestly, it (Katrina) is going to take its toll on a lot of small businesses," said Brenda Reine, executive director of the St. Tammany Parish Economic Development Foundation. "But the same thing happened after Camille. Then there was a boom (of development)."

Reine said citizens looking in from the outside world would be surprised how business owners are taking matters into their own hands, scrubbing floors, blue tarping roofs and searching for office space.

Her office is "inundated" with calls from several business owners some simply wanting a place to hook up a computer and others searching for a 40,000 to 50,000-square-foot facility to house employees, computers and equipment.

"Our main goal is to get citizens back to work," she said.

To date, the Greater Slidell Area Chamber of Commerce has heard from 283 of the 700 plus businesses in Slidell. Twenty of them will close, and three don’t plan to reopen, said Jamene Dahmer, the chamber’s director.

"The overall feeling (from store owners) is an absolute business of rebuilding," said Dahmer. "But the lack of communication is our biggest concern. It’s the information age, and businesses are used to being able to communicate."

Ask A Mold Specialist

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

My friend Lance Puig is a real estate investor and specialist in mold remediation.  We’re going to have a huge mold problem in Slidell with all the floodwaters.  What would you like me to ask him?  I’m planning to post up an interview with all his answers to your questions.  So, ask away in the comments. 

Photo: Rat’s Nest Road

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Originally uploaded by PSYHUB.

Twin spans in the distance. There are tons of new photos of slidell at flickr, which you can see here.

More Than Houses Are Broken

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Originally uploaded by petethephotographer.

Barbara Zuviceh, 62, weeps in the wreckage of her recently purchased Pontchartrain Drive house on the outskirts of Slidell, LA on September 5, 2005. Barbara purchased the house, with her husband, Fred Zuviceh, 65, on August 26th, three days before Katrina hit. (Dispatch Photo by Pete Kiehart)

Trash Hauling Costs: $100 Million

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Just in case you wondered how much it’s going to cost to haul off all the mess in town, comes through with the answer.  At least the operation is being run by a hometown boy, Brian Reine.  Hey Brian, I’m not positive, but I’m thinking the SBBA fields are in sore need of some love.