Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm back . . .

Just got power (and internet) yesterday. That makes 10 days without power. Although I only had to endure 2.

Evacuated Friday August 29th. Spent 4 nights in a cabin in Gatlinburg. 1 night in a seedy motel in Tuscaloosa. 2 nights at my sister's house (they got power before I did.). 1 night at my cousin's house (had it all to myself). 1 miserable night in my apartment with no power - Keep in mind the low for the night was 82 degrees and 90% humidity.

We weren't allowed to return to our parish until Friday the 5th. A curfew was in effect until yesterday. No one allowed outside after 8:00.

Our parish is pretty much devastated. No flooding, though, because of the dynamics of the storm causing the storm surge to only reach 9 ft.

Most stores, including Wal-Mart are still closing at 6 p.m. making it difficult to replace all the food in every one's refrigerator which was lost due to the extended power outages. Not to mention the shelves are not exactly full. The supermarkets are only letting a few people in at a time due to the lack of staff. All I've eaten for the past few days are MREs. Which are pretty good, by the way. I finally made it inside a store today. Dollar General. I now have a bottle of mustard and ketchup in my fridge. Freezer is still empty. Excuse me, I still get emotional thinking of the approximately $150 in food I had to throw away.

The long lines at gas stations have finally ended. There are still long lines at the relief distribution centers.

Several out of state church groups are in town giving away hot meals. I don't have any hard numbers, but they seem to out perform FEMA every time. I don't remember them all, but the Arkansas Baptist Convention set up in the middle of town cooking food. The Mormons are giving out hygiene and clean up kits. Many others.

The state, under new governor Bobby Jindal, did a great job in not waiting for FEMA this time. They can mobilize faster and more efficiently than FEMA, although it was expensive.

One example: During a crisis, emergency commercial generators are needed to power hospitals, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. Instead of waiting for FEMA to approve leases for generators, which would have taken time for red tape, the governor authorized the purchase of needed generators to the tune of 20 million bucks. He's hoping to get reimbursed. But if not, we've got them for the next one.

Well, that's the highlights.

Oh, one more thing, I've had a horrible cold (or something) for the last 4 days and counting.

Almost final tally of my financial losses: $1000.00 and counting. I also missed a week of work.

Well, I gotta go, my MRE is almost ready.


Kay Day said...

Good to see you back.
And wow. You know those of us never affected have no idea what is involved in something like this. I had thought about food loss in freezers, but $1,000 loss?! And that's for a storm that wasn't as bad as expected. I guess it really puts it in better perspective for me.

Is the loss all directly from the storm or are you considering the lodging costs? Just curious as to what the average cost is to people.

Nicole said...

Praise the Lord you're back safe. God will redeem what the "locusts have eaten".

Todd said...

Well it's like this:

1 week's lost wages

5-7 days in motel, which may raise it's rates for the occasion, if you can even find one

$15-$20 per day for meals per family member

Fuel, for what could be several hundred miles round trip to the nearest motel with a vacancy, and more expensive than usual

Loss of everything in your refrigerator and freezer, which can be a lot

Add all of that up, figuring for a family of 4 with a median income ... $2,000.00 easily.

I only came out half way decently because we have a little family camp near Poplarville that I stayed at for several days.

Just the price we pay for living in paradise eh Dayle ...

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Good explanation, Todd.

It costs me a minimum of a $100 a night for hotel. (Most charge $20 extra for a dog if they even allow them.)

5 nights = $500.
Gas = $300.
Food = $100.
Food lost in refrigerator = $150 to $200.

And I'm still not sure if I'm gonna get paid for the week I missed.

The storm was bad. It was the storm surge that was not as bad as expected. Or, New Orleans wasn't hit as bad as expected. We got clobbered.

Kay Day said...

I guess what I'm thinking is that those of us who are onlookers -- ok me. I can only speak for myself. I look at the damage when houses are leveled and think how terrible that is. And when there is no big visable damage, I just think, ok, good. No harm done. Which I admit now is pretty naive, I guess, but I just really had no clue.

I certainly would rather learn about this from you guys than experience it myself! No hurricanes so far around here.

Mark H. said...

Wow, Dayle. I'm glad you're ok, but sorry you are in the middle of a big cleanup now. Is there anything those of us on the outside can do to help?