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Somebody Has to Be First

Looking around our immediate neighborhood, I’d have to say our house is just about the only one ready for re-occupation. Mainly that’s because of the architecture. Our house is a “raised basement” style, meaning the front door is actually to the upper floor, which is the main floor.

Our “basement,” which sits on a concrete slab, is entirely above ground. It’s a flooded, gutted mess. But our main floor, the upper level, is almost normal.

Now that we have heat (in a couple rooms anyway) and hot water, we’re moving back in. Or at least we’re going to try.

I’m almost certain that we’re the only people living on this block. We’ve slept here a few nights already. Last night we saw lights and heard voices from a house behind ours, but I don’t know that they’re actually camped out.

It will be lonely and spooky. But somebody’s gotta be first, right?

We don’t have electricity, but I’m going to buy a generator today. Hopefully we’ll be able to run some lights and other minor appliances.

But you can’t run a heater off a generator, or so my electrician tells me. So I also need to get an indoor-safe propane heater or some such. Otherwise it will be mighty cold in our kitchen (no wall furnace) Tuesday morning, when temperatures are expected to hit the thirties.

Published inKatrinaNeighborsOur House


  1. rcs rcs

    Heat: see if you can find a kerosene heater – they seem to be a pretty good fit for your problem. Not sure where you can buy kerosene in NOLA these days.

    Light: those little propane lanterns they sell at Sears are great… a little propane tank lasts for hours and the lantern’s VERY bright (the little single-mantle lantern is as bright as a 100-watt bulb.)

    Also, FEMA has a whole reimbursement category for 5K generators. It takes forever, but my dad got $700 back on the generator he purchased after Ivan hit Florida.

    Good luck over there, in any case.

  2. Oh my – (tries to find words)

    Thrilled to read that Xy made the cut, as she seems like a born teacher, and it’s great to think of her back in the classroom.

    Awed by the idea that you are the only ones on your block, and with so little in resources to support you. It may not be exactly like the first colonists who came to North America and said “%^*&$%!! Wow!” but it still amazes me. Very very very best and keep us all posted, please.

    re: non-hungry dogs – WTF? Very strange. Sam would no more turn down food than he would a walk. This suggests to me that NO is getting (slowly) back on its feet.

  3. Jana Jana

    I just wanted to say thanks for keeping this update of your recovery experiences. It keeps me in touch with what’s going on, now that the story is no longer headline news. It’s good to get the personal view.

    I remember Christy (Hi Christy) from HT days here in Blgtn, and I’m glad to know you are both doing well and getting back on your feet, slow and tedious as the process must seem.

    Also, a belated thanks for your wonderful goodbye to the community letter.


  4. Definitely a kerosene heater. My dad uses one and lasts for hours.

    Do you think you’ll stand out by being the only house occupied? I mean in terms of burglery and such?

  5. […] December 4th: With gas back on, we’ve got heat and hot water, and we officially move off David’s futon and back into our house. We have no electricity and no neighbors. Indeed there are neither people nor lights for many blocks in every direction. But we are not afraid. Somebody has to be first. […]

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