High and Dry

4608 Painters Street

Yesterday, I went into New Orleans to check on my house for the first time since the storm. As my wife and I drove into the city we saw tremendous wind damage. We exited the interstate and snaked our way through neighborhoods attempting to get to our street. Much of the city was still cordoned off where standing water still filled the streets or downed trees and debris prevented navigation. Our hearts sunk as we saw the water lines on many homes and businesses reaching 3, 4, 5 feet and above. Pictures wouldn’t do the scene justice, especially for those familiar with what these historic neighborhoods used to look like.

Pulling onto Gentilly from Elysian Fields, hope began to spark as we noticed most of the older buildings sat higher than the flood line and did not appear to have taken in water. We slowly drove down our street trying to tell if the water had gone into any homes. Some did. Some didn’t. Many were too close to call. We could tell that the water had reached all the way to our front porch, but it didn’t look like it had ever topped it. Not until we opened the front door did we know for sure. I even reached down to touch the rug because after all I’ve seen over the past three weeks I almost could not believe it was dry. Everything remained where we had left it and nothing in the main house sustained any damage.

Magnolia tree out back window

As I feared the old Magnolia tree fell in the back yard, but it fell away from the house. If it would have come the other way it would have taken out my office. The picture above looks out the back window.

The house’s old original attached garage had been enclosed and converted into an apartment years ago. It had a couple feet of water in it. No one currently lived there, but we are a little concerned that the mold could travel into the main house if our landlord doesn’t get in there soon. We also noticed several roof tiles missing and fear that a good rain could cause leaks. Our garage in the back did take in a couple of feet of water. The broken garage door prevented me from checking in on it but I’m sure we lost our washing machine and dryer and everything else in there. The shed in the back yard caved in, but it didn’t house anything of importance. Considering everything, we weathered the storm very well.

shed

While most of our stuff didn’t sustain damage, we will not be able to live in the house for quite some time. We loaded my Dad’s SUV with as much as we could take. We packed it high with the kid’s musical instruments, computer equipment, pictures, keep sakes and some clothes. I’d like to get back asap to retrieve my library and other things to keep it from mold or roof leaks. With another storm in the gulf it looks like they have reclosed the city for now, so I’m not sure when our next trip will be.

7 thoughts on “High and Dry”

  1. Don,

    Amid all the bad news, it’s nice to see things aren’t worse for you. We will keep you in our prayers and wish you the best in the recovery. I really appreciate the updates and pictures. Y’all are amazing down there.

    rick

  2. Glad to hear that. i have only heard of three families somehow related to me that had major damage to their house. Whether it is good or bad, God wills it 😉 Just keep looking up! Things will get better!

  3. We lived on Marigny Street near Mirabeau. Can you tell how those houses faired? It is such a great neighborhood with wonderful homes. Wish we could have moved it with us. Good to see not all is lost in New Orleans.

  4. Ed,

    We love Gentilly Terrace. Many of the homes did have a good bit of water. I hope they can be salvaged. We didn’t drive down Marigny, but we did go down Mirabeau toward Elysian Fields. I think many of the houses toward the lake did get water. The houses the other way, toward Brother Martin, looked like they may have faired better.

  5. Hey Don,

    If the house sustained no damage, why will it be weeks before you could live there again. Is that because of the electric, sewer, and water problems?

    Glad to hear some good news in the midst of so much bad these days!

  6. tlange,

    I may have sounded a little over optimistic when describing what we found on our first trip in. Our contents didn’t sustain damage, but the house itself did get over two feet of water in the part we did not live in. The mold growth will be a health hazard until it can be dealt with. Our stuff will need to be decontaminated. The roof also needs to be repaired. I do not know how much rain from Rita came through. While our house faired relatively well, the flooding hit the area hard. The schools are all closed. We have no grocery stores, gas stations, or anything else operational in the vicinity. We have no electricity or running water. We had 7-8 feet of standing water in our street; right up to our front door. Now that it has receded, a layer of polluted silt covers everything. The entire area stinks like raw sewage and death. It will be a while before the neighborhood is inhabitable.

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