Dennis on the Road

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blogging Katrina Clean-Up

My friend Traci Todd is currently volunteering for Habitat for Humanity near New Orleans, helping to tear down the damage of Katrina, paving the way for rebuilding that is still a long way away. She is a great writer and provides an intimacy the media has a hard time delivering. Check out her blog at

Here's a couple excerpts:
Each of the houses is marked with an X. In the top V of the X is the date when the house was inspected. In the left part the X's are the initials of either the inspector or the organization for which the inspector works. I don't know what the letters in the right part of the crosses mean, but it's what's in the bottom V that will haunt me for a long time. There, the inspectors recorded the number of dead found in the house.

The pantry is deep. Everything is ruined, of course, but the things in front seem to be relatively in tact. It's when I reach for things in the back that my thumbs go through packets and boxes of I don't know what. Everything back there is rancid, waterlogged, and the smell has heat. I can smell the rot and ruin even through my mask, taste it somehow as I inhale. It's horrifying and makes me gag. The sludgey remains of the food that was stored in this pantry pool at my feet and I keep slipping. The liquid seeps through my gloves--I really have no idea what I'm touching, except that whatever it was was once dry and now it's very, very wet.


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