Archive for September, 2005

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."

Slidell Flooding from Rita

Monday, September 26th, 2005

This morning’s update from the city confirms flooding along Palm Lake, Hwy 11, Hwy 433, Bayou Liberty Road.  I also had heard Chamale.  Here is the mayor’s complete update. 

Mayor: Palm Lake is Flooding

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Just saw a report on WDSU that the Mayor reports Palm Lake is flooding and water may be in some houses. 

[Update:  I also heard that Chamale had flooding from the new storm as well. Homeowners who had successfully dried out, ripped out and were ready to start re-sheet rocking, now are dealing with water again today.]

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)

Felt Like A Lifetime

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

How are we to meet such anxiety?  Form ranks & draw together.  Bring on the food & drink.  Let my people hear music.  A ditty from Better Than Ezra.  Anyone remember when BTE played the old Sarraille’s?  When Nicky had it?  A Lifetime (~3.5 MB mp3).  A total melancholy rocker about taking the full measure of things in a moment of despair.  Even in defeat, we exult.  Is that Louisiana or what? 

St. Tammany Parish Evacuation

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Kevin Davis calls for evacuation in St. Tammany of areas south of 190:

Statement from St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis:
St. Tammany Parish is declaring a State of Emergency because of the threat of Hurricane Rita.
I am calling a mandatory evacuation of all areas south of Highway 190 and Highway 22 beginning at 8:00 AM tomorrow, Friday, September 23rd.
Tropical Storm force winds from Hurricane Rita, along with clogged drainage ways from Hurricane Katrina, pose a serious flood and wind threat to structures that are already damaged.
Shelters will open at 9:00 Friday morning in the following locations: Creekside Elementary, Riverside Elementary, 6th Ward Jr. High and Pearl River High in the Pearl River area.
Bayou Lacombe Middle School and Fountainbleu Jr. High will also open as shelters at 9:00 AM.


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. 

Sheriff’s Update on Rita Preparations

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

James Hartman just sent out the following update from the Sheriff:

Sheriff Jack Strain is meeting at this hour with his management staff to ensure preparations for the potential impact of Hurricane Rita are complete.
"We have monitored this storm with great interest for several days now, and continue to track its progress through the Gulf of Mexico," the sheriff said. "As of the most recent weather update, the news is mostly positive: Rita has weakened, albeit only slightly, to a Category 4 storm, and is still on its track towards western Texas. However, we must be prepared for the tropical-storm-force effects of being on the eastern side of the hurricane and, more importantly, we must always be ready for the storm to change paths. Hurricanes are notoriously fickle, and can change course rapidly. Already today, Rita’s track has moved eastward, placing St. Tammany at greater risk for experiencing high winds, up to six inches of rain, and a storm surge of one to three feet.
"At this time, none of the anticipated impact of Rita will rival the effects of her predecessor. Still, our residents and businesses could feel an effect. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office remains fully prepared, and if there is a positive side to the potential for Rita to affect us it is only that we already have equipment and resources allocated and deployed, and that our personnel are now very experienced in the response and recovery required when tropical weather strikes.
"We continue to hope and pray that Rita’s effects in St. Tammany will be non-existent or minimal, but we also continue to be prepared for whatever challenges face us in coming days.
"I urge our residents to stay tuned to local media for updates and to obey any instructions from local officials that may be forthcoming."
Media contact: James Hartman at this email or 985-809-8207

Photos: City Site Slide Show

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

The City’s Web site has a photo slideshow of damage all over town.

Picture 6_1.png Perhaps you’ve also had your ears lowered at Cornibe’s.  

Picture 7.png Even on the side of town that was ’spared’, here’s what it looks like up and down the streets.


We Have Lost Much. We Have Not Lost Our Sense of Humor.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Picture 4.png

Picture 5.png 

Photos: Slidell/Galveston

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Explicitly Ambiguous has done some historical spelunking and composes the chilling photo comparison below:



[Note:  isn’t that Ralph Wadleigh’s house in the background of the Slidell pic?  I had heard (unsubstantiated) that the water got to the second floor of his place.  Is that true?]

We’d also like to note that we are praying that we are unable to do a similar comparison between Slidell, 2005 and Galveston, 2005 next week.  Every work on praying that storm down.  We’ve already sheared 10 mph off of it.


Let The Schools Know Your Plans

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Danielle Fontenot passes along word that the schools in Slidell need to know what your plans are for returning.  I’m sure they are working overtime trying to gauge student count and make sure they have enough teachers for October 3.  Here goes:

The schools have requested that all parents check in
with the schools and inform them of your child’s
status.  After calling Honey Island repeatedly and
never getting an answer, I went by to let them know
that Stacey would be returning on the 3rd.  While
there, I found out that their phones are not working
properly.  Only one line works and the ringers on the
phones don’t work, so they can’t tell when someone is
calling in.  Donna Babin asked me to please let
everyone know that their phones don’t work, so you
will either need to use e-mail or just drop in. Please
help spread the word to any other parents you see in
the next few days.  It’s very important that the
school knows how many people are returning in order to
plan properly. 

Donna Lusignan’s e-mail address is: 

In your e-mail, please include your child’s full name,
the teacher’s name, your contact information, whether
or not your child will be returning, and the date of
their return if it is not going to be Oct. 3.

Please help spread this news.  Many people are still
without internet access and may not know they need to
check in.  Hope to see lots of you soon.  Take care.

LeaRae Webb


To all those in Dallas about to ride out your first hurricane

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Back when the world was younger, and I was less freaked out, I wrote a post about how it’s better to throw a hurricane party in Texas, meaning that we had vamoosed from Slidell.  Boy, do I rue the day I was flippant enough to say that.  As it stands now, we’ll be riding out what looks to be a category 1 hurricane by the time it gets up here to Dallas on Sunday. [Note:  if you’re reading this from SW or Central La., please stop reading now.  Evacuate, and then come back to this post from the safety of your new digs in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Montgomery, Memphis, whereever.  This storm is as bad as what we all just went through, which is to say hell & high water.  So, please split.]

Now, to all those Dallas folks.  Don’t freak out.  It will be windy & rain all weekend.  You are not used to this, I know, & I promise we did not mean to drag tropical weather up here with us.  I’ll give you a few pointers to help you make it through.  If you call me, I can do a Bob Breck impersonation that will entertain me and probably leave you confused.  At any rate, here’s how you make a first-rate Sazerac, the quintessential cocktail of New Orleans.  Run down to the Centennial and grab some rye, Herbsaint & Peychaud’s bitters.  A few of these and you’ll fret less about weather.  Or at least you’ll be more likely to tell entertaining stories while we’re all cooped up.  Twist my arm, and I’ll tell you how to make a pot of chicken & sausage gumbo for Sunday as well.

The full post from this May can be found here.  The good part:

We’ll nominate the Sazerac as the southern face of perfection. Chuck Taggert of the Gumbo Pages can, as usual, tell you all you need to know about the drink — the history, the options, the certain elan with which you might consume one.

We are flexible. Have your Sazerac however you like it. Bourbon, Cognac, the traditional Rye. Just mix it up. Make two while you’re at it.

Here’s how we do it:

Enough simple syrup (say 1 tsp or so)
2 shots Old Overholt rye
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (here, we break from tradition)
A dribble of Herbsaint

Chill Old Fashioned glass. In your shaker, mix syrup, whiskey, bitters. Stir with mucho ice. Pour Herbsaint in chilled glass and spin around (right round, baby, like a record) to coat glass. Pour out the Herbsaint if anise ain’t your thing. Strain whiskey goodness into the coated glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. (Here, again, we break from tradition.)

& enjoy. It mellows & changes as you sip your way through it. Equally apropos whether you are bubbly or thoroughly run down and flocked around by the world.


Why Do Storms Track East at Landfall?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

As we all watch Rita, it occurs to me that pretty much every storm pulls to the east as it makes landfall.  Why is that?

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



Jaws Meets the Poseidon Adventure

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Picked this up off someone’s LiveJournal.  I have no idea if it’s so, but it made me laugh.  Laughing is good.

My favorite Slidell story - involves a woman - who evacuated and upon return - found a shark ONTOP of her trailer.