I really don’t know what to say.
I went to Lake Charles, Louisiana on business to clean up and survey the damage of Hurricane Rita along one of our Byways. We also had a subcommittee marketing meeting while there.
Even now, it’s still overwhelming. The damage was profound. While the media focused primarily on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, southeast Louisiana was ravaged by hurricanes as well, shortly after. Even when the media showed shots of Lake Charles it was in fact the same 30 second clips of New Orleans that we watched over any over again. Sad.
Every house either had a brand new roof or a “blue roof” which is simple a blue tarp stapled to a house frame or no roof at all. We drove about 150 miles of roads in southeast Louisiana and I would say 75% to 85% of the houses we saw were in either in shambles or being seriously rebuilt. We drove by the gulf and there were concrete slabs where homes once stood. Nothing was left. Nothing. Only debris nearby. We would be driving in the middle of nowhere along a marsh and there would be a house in the middle of the swamp. It was like the house in the Wizard of Oz just landed there. Huge Casino boats washed up in the middle of interstates. 75% of the trees we saw were cracked in half like a broken pencil.
What really blew me away was the trash and the greyness of everything. There was no color. In the land and in the people. These people were broken. People who once were happy and vibrant had their life squashed in a matter of hours.
It was very hard hearing from the people what had happened to them. The headache of insurance. The headache of what to do when your house had been moved down the street and was now on someone else’s property. The headache of what to do. The headache of what to do. The headache of what to do.
On a side note of my travels there we went to a casino one night after dinner with the Mayor of Lake Charles. It was pretty much as I had expected. I guess all casinos are the same. What was amazing were the sounds. It was a symphony of bells and chimes and whistles. All blended in to it’s own sort of white noise. I wish I had my minidisc there. I will have to go back to a casino shortly to capture this sound. What really was hard for me was looking at the blank and unhappy faces of all these people throwing their money away. Maybe it was the hurricane. Maybe the just needed something in their lives. Maybe all casinos are like this.
I am still on the verge of tears. [pictures]