Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A journey through time

On Sunday, I departed the sliver by the river, the New Orleans oasis that remains after Hurricane Katrina. I drove up Carrollton Avenue, a once scenic and bustling corridor that runs from the river to City Park and Bayou St. John. It's now largely a row of badly damaged homes and businesses with gradually increasing floodwater lines as you travel toward the park. I traveled into the dead zone, my neighborhood in Vista Park, just a few streets over from the London Avenue Canal breach.

It's like a journey through time, or going from urban America to a muddy village in South America. I took some pictures of the place I used to call home. I thought I should share.

This is the front of the house. I used to have a lush, green lawn and a garden bursting with plants and flowers.

And this used to be the kitchen, with white cabinets and white countertops. And, yes, red walls. That's my refrigerator in the back there. Lucky for you this photo isn't scratch and sniff.

Our living room. We had two sofas in there. The other floated into another room. Part of the wall fell off, don't ask me why. A picture of a cat painted by my daughter is the only picture still hanging.

And this is what used to be the master bedroom. Somehow my dresser floated on top of my bed. My Darling Wife thinks the fans look like wilted flowers. Mold, mildew, fungus, free to a good home.

My Darling Daughter's bunk beds. She wanted leopard sheets to compliment her collection of stuffed tigers. Her books are all over the floor.

We evacuated in my wife's car. Here's what happened to mine. Before Katrina, I was thinking I could get about a grand for it. I think I will have to come down in price now. The dark lines on the house show how where the water stayed for a while. I think the flood peaked within a foot of the ceiling.

Everything in the shed is ruined, too. My tool box and everything in it now wear a fine coat of rust. Couldn't even sell these at a garage sale.

Damaged photographs. These are pictures of my father and my girl when she was a newborn. These are not digital photos printed at home. They were professionally developed and printed the old fashioned way. At least I think they were. And yet, the colors run. All of our photos share this fate.

All these things seem so distant now. We used to live here, eat here, sleep here, entertain here. We used to have neighbors and block parties. All of these things now gone or destroyed almost beyond recognition. The water diligently got into everything, spoiled everything it touched.

This is like a journey through time. To a prior life that has since passed on. A house that is now a graveyard. Rooms, once filled with people and furnishings, now occupied by moldy memories and shattered chairs. No one can rest in peace here.


Anonymous said...

Damn, Tim.

Best of luck in getting that place cleaned up. We now have a list of what exactly to carry in case of an evacuation, and the one luxury on there is the photo albums.

If you need anything, you know how to get in touch with me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if any of those tools are craftsmen, take 'em back to Sears for free replacements!

Astrid said...

Oh my, I have goosebumps all over. Life can be so unfair and such a struggle, but if you kick back hard enough, it can be wonderful too! Good luck, Tim & family.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just plain wow. I'm so sorry, Tim. I'm glad you're telling the story.

Tim said...

Thanks everybody.

Anonymous said...

Tim, while I know you only just a little bit, I know one thing for're a good person who will come back from this even better. It isn't fair and isn't fun and no one deserves this.

This next part is not meant to insult so please forgive me. I know you stated a few blogs ago that you are an atheist.
Please allow me to do what I feel I must and ask God to bless you and your family for what you're going thru. If there's anything I can do, even if it's just to have someone to talk to about this craziness, pls don't hesitate to call.

Anonymous said...

Well, this sucks. I am sorry for you and your family. A friend who lives in New O lost her home, her fiance his home and art gallery.

Schroeder said...

Very funny Ashley -- my father-in-law would make the return and you're not far off the mark -- Sears might actually take the tools back.

Tim, I can almost smell it. I'm sorry. My gut's still doing flips from looking at those pictures -- it happens every time I see someone's house -- but thanks for sharing them -- that's very important.

It sounds, at least, like family is very important to you -- and that's something some people never really get to appreciate.

Laurie said...

I'm so glad you posted the pictures. I'm going to link to this post to remind people they need to keep checking in on you and the city.

Tim said...

The world needs to see this... thank you for sharing such difficult images with the rest of us. Our hearts and minds are with you.

Mark Folse said...
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