Saturday, October 15, 2005

This Old House

As I said, I now have photos from that first week available, and it's time for a bit of show and tell. I'm going to forego any effort to post things in chronological order. Let's start with the big stuff - the house:

Dear "John", in front of my battered but standing home. His little scowl is probably a response to the putrid stench that pervaded all of the flooded neighborhoods (that or he's just yukking it up for the camera). This is when we first arrived, that Wednesday. Note the (mostly) brown grass. The floods pretty much killed all greenery. Only a few patches of scrubby, indigenous grass and a couple of banana trees survived.

Things take a turn towards the funky once one steps in the front door. The 19th-century-frayed-at-the-edges-Creole-eclectic ain't looking so good. As I mentioned before, I was prepared for the mold. I wasn't prepared for the disarray, the way things had floated every which way and just been dumped down as the flood waters receded. And the antiques. Sad business. A lot of this furniture has been in my family for well over a century. Some of it might be salvaged in one form or another. A lot won't. The only consolation I can take is that dying in a grand flood, the worst disaster in the nation's history, is somehow a fitting and honest way for old New Orleans furniture to go.

Photo by "John"

The dining room. Yes, the demitasses (a.k.a. teacups) are fine, although the walls looking rather dodgy. And of course I'm wearing the latest in post-Katrina chic, currently a regional trend, though various cutting-edge fashion houses are taking note.

Ah, the kitchen. The foulest of rooms. See how the cabinet doors have curled up (I should mention that the ceiling fan was also drooping in the most Dali-esque manner). And let's not forget the fridge, the big white thing in the corner, overturned and lying on its side. Shudder. A couple days after this photo was taken, I finally got around to tossing it out the back door. As I stood it up, its door swung open and a torrent of flood water gushed out, infused with rancid foodstuffs. I nearly vomited,* and had to rush out to get fresh air.

So how did the rest of the house do? Upstairs on our side looks strangely normal. On the tenants side, the downstairs looks a lot like ours. His side also got a lot of roof damage, so his upstairs is a big, fallen-plaster, mess.

Oh, yeah. And our shed didn't do too good...

Stay tuned. There's plenty more post-Katrina-devastation-fun to come.

* I should mention that the respirator I was wearing generally blocks out even the funkiest of smells, so the unmediated stench must have been simply staggering. Also, lets not spend too much time thinking about the consequences of vomiting into one's own respirator - a wretched first step in some hideous comedy-of-errors chain reaction which I thankfully avoided.



  1. Wow. Those curled cabinet doors are mighty discouraging - not to mention the shed.

  2. It is a staggering talent to be able to write something about devastation that is so devastatingly funny. The vomit-in-the-respirator footnote about brought me to tears.

    I hope you don't mind. Laughing with -- not at.

  3. Oh, thank you. No, please laugh. It's about the only way I know of dealing with the crappiness of it. And honestly, there's plenty of durn funny stuff mixed in with all the rest.