owdy. Man, this place looks about as abandoned as the houses we're down here deconstructing. Doesn't anyone every sweep this web site? What it needs is a good woman taking care of it. What it's author needs is a slap upside the head...
not yet available
So we made it down here, and suprisingly enough we managed to go several days without cutting any limbs off with a chainsaw or developing "The Black Lung" from the spore-laden mold growing on every conceivable surface. We're holed up in church in Metaire, which is a few minutes from some of the more famous streets in New Orleans. We've been in flood-damaged houses tearing out insulation and sheetrock, moving furniture, and clearing away large uprooted trees. Inside homes the big enemy is "Black Mold" which shows up when the sheetrock gets wet. When the stuff dries out it becomes powdery and airborne, and highly toxic. Or so they say. I find that it goes well with Easy Mac if you're running short of pepper.
There are eleven of us down here, all guys, and the sense of testosterone and one-upsmanship is palpable. "I can use TWO chainsaws at once!" "I can roll in insulation without getting itchy!" "I remembered to take my stomach pill last night!"
That last one was actually me, and not surprisingly it didn't get me much respect. Tomorrow I might have to work shirtless and (provided they aren't blinded by my pasty whiteness) they can marvel at my eighth chest hair, which showed up last week.
We're here until Friday, and there's work lined up every day from 8am until 5pm or later in the evening. Working with goggles and masks is a sweaty, gritty deal which fogs up your vision every few minutes and is only compounded by the itching brought on by the insulation falling into your boxers through the day. In short, I have tremendous respect for folks that do this for a living, and no desire to reach any level of expertise. My greatest respect however, goes to the folks who open their homes to this crew, and who give us lunches and water and haven't ever complained about the frustrating situation they're in. Few will get their lives back to normal any time soon, if at all. Yet they're here, working along side us, and thankful for the tiny bit of time we're spending down here. It's pretty humbling to be around people in these dire situations who are still brimming with optimism.
We have food, electricity, occasional net access, and clean water where we're staying, so we're able to recharge (figuratively and otherwise) each evening. Dinner is an interesting experience that really shows the skill of the cook. No one's shy about voicing their opinion. Myself, I'll be all right as long as the pre-packaged foods don't run out. Vive Le Microwave!
PS: There is a more official team-blog, which I have written at least once for (you may guess which one) located here