Archive for the 'eyewitness reports' Category

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.


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]

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.

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.


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.

Oak Harbor Holdup?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Two reports on this issue this morning — another phone call just now from a boat owner whose efforts to raise her boat are being blocked.  Can someone elaborate?  Paul Bartels, what’s the deal?  

Bianca writes in:

Oak Harbor is being held Hostage!!!

I am LIVID!!   Oak Harbor, our beautiful home which has been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina is being ravaged again by unscrupulous marine salvors.    Aqua Terra/Big Tuna has come into the marina and had decided that they own the world.

I don’t give a rats behind about contracts made by the marina to clean up the marina, but I do give a rats behind when slimey worms like Aqua Terra decide to block the harbor entrance and hold all of us boat owners as hostages to their greed.

Basically it boils down to the fact that Aqua Terra claims exclusive salvage rights….. wait a minute!!!!   I didn’t give them exclusive salvage rights to my boat.   I have my insurance with a reputable company who knows what they’re doing.   They won’t buy into the blackmail terms that Aqua Terra is demanding and are ready and standing by to tow my boat out of the marina, do my damage assessment and pay me based on the terms of my insurance policy.    In the mean time, I’m homeless waiting for the insurance check because FEMA won’t do a thing for us until our insurance claim is settled.

So we sit and wait, sit and wait….. well you know what?    I’m sick and tired of waiting.   There are people trapped in the marina.   They desparately want to get out.   Their boats are seaworthy and they want to leave, but because the Aqua Terra worms are blocking the harbor, preventing our insurance companies salvage crews entry,  no boats are moving from the pile or out of the marina….. in the mean time those folks sit and wait, sit and wait, sweltering in the heat with no electricity, no water, no sewerage (sorry porta potties don’t count in my book)

A friend called me tonight.  She was standing on 9 dock watching a boat at the end of 8 dock sink.   That boat was put there on Sunday by Riverview (who was under contract to tow her out of the marina so she could be hauled out and repaired)…. but Riverview couldn’t get her out because Aqua Terra blocked the entrance to the marina.  Now she’s surely totaled and I firmly believe that Aqua Terra is responsible.   If I were her owners I would definately hold them responsible.

My blood pressure is up and that’s not a good thing, so I’m going to do something about this.    I’m calling the coast guard, wildlife & fisheries, the sheriff’s department, the parish president, the mayor, the govenor and every newspaper, television and radio station that I can get my hands on…..     please, help me spread the word- file a complaint- we’re talking about people who have already been raped by a killer storm, must we now be raped by a salvage company’s greed?

Bianca Brooks
s/v Jojamela
Oak Harbor Marina, Slidell, LA



Clean Up Report

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Howard Baulch went to Slidell to help with the clean up, and has posted an extensive write up here

Photos: Eden Isles Blvd.

Saturday, September 17th, 2005

1678788kat090.jpg Here’s another set of personal photos of a house on Eden Isles Blvd.

Krewe of the Zombie Princess Report Back

Saturday, September 17th, 2005

The pilot of the Zombie Princess writes about what it’s like in Slidell today:

Only now that the residents and business people of Slidell are returning is the devastation wrought by Katrina really coming clear. Every street – and I do mean *every* street – in town is lined with heaps of soaked, mildewed furniture and belongings; piles of ruined siding, drywall, and insulation; and the occasional boat or car. For every business that has reopened, there are two dozen that may never open again. And on the principal roadways, relief stations and donation drops do a booming business, with people of all income levels lined up for blocks for free meals, water, and clothing.

We drove out Highway 11 toward Lake Pontchartrain and toured the part of town that was hardest hit. The storm surge exceeded 10 feet there, so just about every building is trashed We saw fishing camps (inexpensive frame houses on stilts) that were lifted off their foundations and deposited on the other side of the highway. Boats rest in trees. Cars lie crossways on roadways and in ditches. A U-Haul truck perches on a levy. And million dollar homes are gutted, their insurance claim numbers marked in bright spray-painted on their facades in bright colors. Some areas, including the Oak Harbor marina where some of Frank’s Internet sailing buddies are (were) moored, have police barricades or guards posted to keep looters and tourists like us away. (There are a lot of people here with cameras and curiosity.)

Photos: Dale Drive & Ridgewood Drive

Saturday, September 17th, 2005

Donna Braquet sends along a link to a ton of photos of her mom’s and grandmother’s houses.  One thing you do when your house gets seven feet of water in it:  you save memories by photographing your wet childhood photos before throwing them out.


It’s Hard to Remember What Our Lives Were Like

Friday, September 16th, 2005

Poignant account of someone else dealing with the daily struggle of cleaning up and getting on with it.  Two nations, she says.  One that is turning attention back to football & Fridays.  And ours — the entire Gulf Coast trying to figure out what to do next.  I don’t know about you, but the rush of ‘we’re alive’ has turned to deep anxiety about how it will all shake out.  Seems to be hitting many of us at the same time. 

Help Needed

Friday, September 16th, 2005

Blogger and Slidell resident hit hard by the storm needs help.  See this page for more details. 

Another Slidell Journal

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Dan is posting daily observations about cleanup & relief efforts here.  Also a number of photos. 

Another Clean up Account

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

See this blog for another clean up account.   Some photos as well.

“It’s not a happy place. Things are far from normal in the damaged areas. Unless you bring your own support system, including your own clean water, your own food and your own place to stay, you are a drain on the resources that are already there. Unless you’re there as a member of Red Cross or an organized relief group, you will not help the situation. Unless you have a magic wand that will put together all of the destroyed homes, then you’re just in the way, someone else who needs to be cared for. I can’t say this strongly enough - if you really want to help the affected areas, you need to be prepared to live in mud, debris and basic sanitation. Join the Red Cross or a group that has the infrastructure to support your presence. If you know a home or business owner who specifically wants your help, then go and help. If you don’t meet the above criteria, I strongly recommend staying away." 

Photo: 8/29 Shot from City Motel

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005


Frontline Report of Cleanup

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Another eye witness account of a cleanup effort in Slidell, this one from John Stocks.

Adam’s [John’s brother] house is ready for bleaching and final drying. We removed all the carpet, the first four feet of sheetrock, the vanities, the doors and door frames, the cabinets, the furniture, essentially gutting the whole house.

Still no electricity. The generator which was purchased with relief funds has been a godsend. We have been able to run power tools, fans and the dehumidifier. Thanks to my brother in laws in Green Bay who loaned me their trailer and rented the drying equipment.

Today we spray a mix of bleach and water to further combat mold, mildew and bacterial growths.

Quick action in removing the carpet and subsequently the guts of the house has averted any signs of mold or mildew.

The neighbors who just returned this week are not so fortunate. Mold has taken hold in many homes.

Photos: Rat’s Nest Road, Eden Isles, Hwy 11

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

DSCF0169.JPG An extensive set of photos of the hardest hit areas here — includes the first on-the-ground shots I’ve seen of Rat’s Nest Road.  Also includes The Dock, some Eden Isles shots, Highway 11 and more. 

Refugee Blogger Returns Home

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Laurel, who I think lives around Breckenridge [update:  Meadow Lake], has returned home and is blogging about what it’s like for her.  Great descriptions of how the neighborhoods are, what your priorities have to be when you get back home, etc.  She kept a great blog as she was on the run from the storm.  Now she’s giving us a first hand account of what’s it like to go back.  We all have a lot of work ahead of us.


Slidell Businesses Open

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Doug @ the Wine Market just sent out a list of businesess open in the East Gause area:

Hey Everybody!!
We hope you are doing well.  The Wine Market will be open soon.  We only have some minor cosmetic and flood damage-we are blessed indeed.  We are selling wine while we are cleaning up, so if you see us here, come buy some wine!
Some friends with local businesses are open already to serve you:
Video Joe (owned by me, Doug and Michelle Reker) is open on Robert Road, 190 West, and Hwy 41 Pearl River with new low pricing and all late fees have been wiped out.
Signs Now on Gause next to Office Depot is open-call Rip at 781 6800.
Smiths Sports next to the Harley Davidson Shop is open
and Herman Smith is screen printing shirts as we speak.
Slidell Harley Davidson is open—Langston and Cynthia have a great inventory that was unharmed by Katrina.
Wendys on East Gause — go see Kevin and Stan
Slidell Army Surplus is open for your outdoor and camping needs-see Jeff
The Creole Bagelry is open next door to Copelands.  The best bagels in the World thanks to Bernie!  No thanks to Dom!!!!
I hope Shaefers opens soon—I really need a shrimp poboy
We pray that our local businesses all come back strong
Doug, Daryl, Michelle, Bonnie
The Wine Market
2051 Gause East
Slidell, LA 70461
985 781 1177
985 781 1354 fax

Photos: Eden Isles/Hwy 11

Monday, September 12th, 2005

14_tmb.jpgBrian Hursey has a number of damage photos posted here. 

Story of One Woman’s Trip Back to Slidell

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Good newspaper piece about the day-to-day experience of being back home.  Little things are huge. 

Although power was out in most of Slidell, Sebastian said her family used the generators and a propane grill to cook some of the rapidly thawing food from the freezer. They allotted a few hours of one generator’s power for a window-unit air conditioner at bedtime, when 10 people would gather in one bedroom to get some sleep in the relative cool.

Sebastian said the Red Cross and other volunteers also were helpful, providing military MREs, or meals ready to eat, and necessary medications for Slidell residents. Sebastian said she was surprised, at first, to see volunteers loading up storm victims’ cars and bags with ice.

"Then I realized how important such a small thing as ice is, to keep medicine cold or even just to have a cool drink when it’s so steamy," Sebastian said.

But one thing that shocked Sebastian in a good way was the complete strangers who responded to the crisis. She said she was moved to tears when she saw a platoon of semi trucks on one side of town, each filled with much-needed supplies and volunteers from around the country.


Photos: Bayou Liberty Bridge

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

  Complete series of photos is here.








Photos: Bayou Liberty Area

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

This area of Bayou Liberty has been in my wife’s family (Galatas) for as long as anyone can remember.  Complete series of photos is here.


_DSC0028.jpg  This stingray washed up in the yard, above the Bayou Liberty bridge.  Our relatives weathered the storm in this house, scrambling to the attic after the huge oak fell through the kitchen and the wall of water pushed in.





At least 5 feet of water inside this house.