Herald Journal Columns
Feb. 28, 2006, Enterprise Dispatch

Many people drowned in their attics


Yesterday, I was able to take a tour of an area in the eye of the storm. This was only 20 miles from camp, but it was more of the bayou than where we are.

I have two words to describe this area: “Boats everywhere.” One large fishing boat was along side the highway in which we drove. There were cars everywhere as well. Not many people though.

The houses along the bay were nothing but stilts in most areas. Debris littered the entire area. We drove until we couldn’t drive any more. The road literally ended.

There was a drawbridge that hadn’t been up and running yet. There was a “road closed” sign in the middle of the road and next to it was an abandoned and destroyed Buick.

Today was different though. After seeing the devastation everywhere, you want to talk with the locals.

So this morning I went out on one of the projects. It was a woman in her early seventies and her brother. There was nothing left of her home, but the garage/apartment where he lived, was habitable.

We gutted it out so it could be sprayed for mold. It was an amazing story. The woman, Gloria, has breast and lung cancer as well as lymphoma. Her husband suffered from a stroke back in July.

These three survived the storm in her attic. Many people drowned in their attics during the hurricane, but luckily the surge receded before it could take them. She did lose her two cats though.

When asked why she stayed, she said, “My brother wanted to stay. We didn’t think it would be that bad.”

I spent four hours tearing down Sheetrock and insulation. I didn’t do much, but the little that I did do helped one family get closer to a home. If everyone could spend four hours doing what I did, it would do wonders. 

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