Just a few miles down the road people lived in shacks - just barely 4 walls. They fished in the bayou for dinner. I had never seen anything like it in my life (all 20 years of it at the time). It was just so sad. The apartment complex was in Gretna - just the west of New Orleans city proper - just over the Mississippi River Bridge. If you recall seeing thousands of residents stranded on a bridge after Katrina, that's the bridge that was a short distance from where we lived. Just another block west of us was a 24 hour convenience store and we got to know the fellow who worked the evening shift. He lived in one of the shacks along the bayou, but he drove a very nice BIG car. After we got to know him a bit, our friend asked him about that - why the big car when his housing was so sad? And he said something like this "well, if worse comes to worse, we can sleep in the car, but we can't drive the shack". That was his reality. I wonder how many people down there still live like that. Surely if there were any shacks still standing, Katrina did away with them.
While we were living there, coincidentally my brother was stationed at Biloxi AFB in Mississippi. When he had a few days leave, David and I would make the drive along the coast to get him and bring him back to the apartment for home cooked food. I think we did that 2-3 times while I was there. Because of that, we got to see the Gulf coastline as it existed before Katrina. We would play our Seals and Croft 8 track tape as we made the drive. In an eerie bit of recall, the words of the song I remember the most are "we may never pass this way again". Back then there was very little new development and much of the land still belonged to old plantations. It's said to think so much of it was destroyed in Katrina along with anything built after we left. Having lived someplace, even for a short time, and even though it was over 30 years ago and is many hundreds of miles away, I think it made the reality of Katrina a little more real for us. We knew the areas that had water up to their roofs. We knew the west bank where residents attempted to flee only to be stopped because those areas were low lying and hit very hard as well. It was easy for us to understand how and why everything flooded. Just so so sad.
And now the residents are once again faced with another storm of catastrophic proportions. All we can do is wait and hope and pray for all those residents that are being evacuated from newly rebuilt homes, partially rebuilt homes and even those still temporary shelters. And pray for the safety of the personnel who need to stay behind and for those being deployed to the area for the all important jobs and emergency work. My sweet friend Mary over at Gettysburg Homestead is on standby and may be deployed to the area after the storm. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers as well.
On a lighter note, I have once again been given the Primitive Excellence Award by five sweet Prim blogger friends. Carolyn over at Cranberry Crossings, Wendy over at The Cozy Yellow House, Pam over at Antique or Not, Cathy over at Hazelruthes and Sandy over at For the Love of Prims all honored me with this fun award. I thank them each and you can check out their own Excellent Primitive blogs by checking my blog roll. I love seeing how they decorate and the crafts they make. It has been so much fun getting to meet other primitive loving gals. We each have our own style of prim and I love to see the differences and the commonalities.
The one thing we all love is to decorate for the seasons - prims really seem to lend themselves particularly well to fall of course! I did start my fall decorating this weekend. I have most of my items in place, but in my eye, our home never looks done until all my bittersweet is in place. We may go looking tomorrow morning if time permits. In the meantime, I broke up my new garland into smaller pieces to place here and there. I am really not much of a pip berry/garland type gal but it sure does make it easier to have something you can use year after year. Here in MA, bittersweet is now considered a no-no because it is so invasive. It is being eradicated along roadways and railways and is getting harder to find. It is illegal to sell it in any shape or form even so in the future, garlands and pip berries may be my only choice!
I did take a few pictures and I'll share these as just a sneak peak. Things may change before I am done, but it is beginning to look like fall Behind My Red Door!
Enjoy what is left of the long weekend and pray that Gustav some how weakens dramatically and spares all parts of the gulf coast from any major damage.
Until next time - hugs, Linda