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Call from Paul

The owner of the grocery store in question called me yesterday evening. He got my letter. I’ll call him Paul, because that’s his name. He told me his story, and as predicted, it was a sad one.

Paul lost his job after the storm, and then he got real sick, and he now has no income, and his car isn’t in good enough shape to make it to New Orleans, so he hasn’t even seen the grocery since the flood, and he was shocked — shocked — to learn of its condition.

I asked, “So where are you living these days?”

The answer: Metairie.

Eight Miles

Hmmm… That would be approximately eight miles away. And it’s been a year. Hmmm…

I’ll confess I’m a tad skeptical, but who knows? It’s been a very rough year for all of us. He said that he was very concerned and that he will get the place cleaned up as soon as possible.

I offered to give him a ride to survey the property. I also repeated the offer (from the letter I sent) to organize a crew of volunteers if he needed it. He didn’t take me up on either offer.

The next thing to worry about is whether he actually makes good on his promise, and if so that the cleanup could actually make things worse. If they pile that gunk out on the curb it will be truly horrific. Frankly, the place is in such sad shape I wonder if wholesale demolition isn’t a better option.

Published inNew Orleans


  1. Brenda Helverson Brenda Helverson

    I suspect that if you fart, you will expel some of the smoke that Paul tried to blow up your ass. “A tad skeptical” is probably the right attitude.

  2. Jeff Elbo Jeff Elbo

    hell…i could go for an 8 mile jog if the weather was nice enough.

    just to put it into perspective…i play soccer.

    during a 90 minute soccer game, it’s been estimated that players run between 8 to 9 miles during a single game. (unless you’re a goalkeeper)





  3. I’m skeptical too. Insurance issues aside, this is neglect pure and simple.
    Wholesale demolition isn’t any easier, in fact it’ll make the smell worse, since it’ll take that much longer for the garbage to get hauled away. They did that with Ferrara’s, and every time they scooped debris up, it stirred up the funk, which you could smell several blocks away.

    Ferrara Pan

  4. Justine Justine

    My heart goes out to you and your wife. I very much enjoy reading your blog. I was born and raised in N.O. and still am a homeowner there, though I no longer live there. When I read that the grocery owner now lives in Metaire, I pondered whether he turned into one of those people in La. who go to lengths to avoid Orleans Parish. I always wonder about those types. I have met so many residents of Jefferson Parish who proudly report that they don’t drive into New Orleans unless absolutely necessary. As my teenager would say: what’s up with that?!

  5. If you offered free help he has no excuse to get the unsafe blight out of the nieghborhood. I think whay you need now is some leverage. The city needs to set up a process to deal with these issues now. There is no reason a caring community should be stopped from cleaning up this mess.

  6. Also, what is going on here with all this crime and the fact that communities are not being allowed to speak freely at community meetings.

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