Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We need a shower. I mean, we really need a shower... Don't get me wrong, most people down here need a shower ;-) But I can see us starting to lose interviews based upon the fact that we need a shower. We have a shower in Bokeh, but it's currently being used for storage, so it has been more hassle than it's worth - up till now, that is... But then again, we might be able to get a shower from a friend of a friend who got back to NOLA last night. Note to self: call Katie's friend and see if access to shower is still an option.

I want to note something I've been moved by since my first visit down here. As you might know, when the search and rescue teams went thru the city, the SOP (standard operating procedure for those who've never worked in the government or in a Dilbert environment) was to make an X on the front of the house and record the abbreviation of the team who did the search, the date of the search, and the results of the search. To this day, there is still confusion as to what the "0" vs "∅" vs "1" vs no data at all... Supposedly, the 0 meant no body found, but then I heard that some teams used the ∅ to mean that no "live" bodies were found, and so on and so on... In any case, these markings, like tattoos, identify each house, and tell stories about what happened during those first weeks. As you drive through the city, these markings are like visual sound bites: "Missouri Task Force Team 1 was here on September 10 and found no live bodies inside." "California Task Force 4 was here on August 30 and found 2 dead bodies inside" etc etc

Today, almost a year later, some of these tattoos are gone, covered up with fresh paint and it makes my heart sad to see that house's story obliterated. To me, the paint is tape over the house's mouth. I know that people repaint to get on with their lives and move past the tragedy, but I wish there was a way to move on without removing the tattoo... and I guess the other thing that bothers me is that the tattoo is now a stigma - if the markings are still there, it means the owners of the house either can't afford to fix their house up or they have not come back to do so.

I can't even begin to tell you how sad the SPCA, LSPCA, HSUS markings make me... "2 dead dogs inside" "no dog found" "German Shepherd P/U 9/15" and "F/W 10/20" all remind me that the animals were here at some point and that they suffered... Sadder still is that they are still here. Some AFP reporter apparently wrote an article today that is making the rounds of the animal rescue lists - the reporter writes that 2-3,000 animals died in NOLA after Katrina... one rescuer wrote in response, "I found 500 dead rabbits in one place. Could it be I found 1/4 of all dead animals in N.O???...." The truth is, there were sooooo many more, and if anyone tells you that there are no pets running around NOLA, you can tell them you saw 4 that were photographed within a 5 block radius in one hour in broad daylight - how many hid from us?

Okay, off the soapbox again and time for another:

Adventure Food's Cranberry Walnut Chicken
9 out of 10
Why the 9 instead of a 10? Because they should have said it was stuffing! Not that it wasn't good, it was wonderful - we just were not expecting stuffing. Now, what I'm thinking is getting this to use as stuffing next Thanksgiving! And as usual with Adventure Foods, it didn't need any extra seasonings, not even the salt and pepper it came with...

Things we HATE
Visiting the section I was responsible for feeding back in November and finding no evidence of any feeding and watering stations and homes completely overgrown to the point you can't see them anymore where I once was able to walk up the steps to the front porch.

Things we LOVE
Getting up every morning and playing with someone else's kittens!!

Seriously, there are 10 kittens at SAF, all former ferals, who are in various stages of being ready for adoption. I think they don't get names because as I can tell you, once you name them, it's really hard to give them up...

There's Velcro's two littermates:

The gray/black tabby who was so shy the first day but now is a love sponge...

The kittens who wouldn't purr until Deanna separated them and now they purr whenever you look at them:

The noisy one in the window:

And then the bat kittens... 3 black and gray and one orange tabby... the orange tabby looks like a kitten, but the other three look like bats!

Then there are the older cats.

Chestnut and Richie - who came back to SAF b/c the lady who adopted them couldn't handle Richie's eyes, which was caused by his mom having herpes when she gave birth to him. Believe it or not, he can actually see through them...

The one we call "Feral but Friendly" (cuz that's what's written on the tag on her crate) wasn't there the morning we took photos - she'd been returned to the streets... She's the overly excited kitty that bit both us the other morning but it breaks my heart b/c she was really affectionate. But this little guy was in because his mom was gonna declaw him - which SAF does not condone, so they asked to adopt him and his mom agreed. He needs a home where he will be loved as is.

And Velcro, named by Rich who works at SAF. Velcro is Chris' favorite (followed by the kitten in the window), and apparently everyone (at least Deanna and Rich) wants to take Velcro home with them...

Just returned from another visit to the lower 9th Ward. Chris made a few pics, I don't have them just yet, but I do have more sightings of cats. Keep in mind that these are just the ones we saw...

seen at the corner of Rocheblave and LaManche

Tomcat (seen spraying anything that didn't sit still) on Dourgenois near Lamanche at the St. Luke Baptist Church.

this is one of two cats seen, the other one was more skittish, no street signs, and I guess I didn't record the location in the audio file of the image (dumbass!!!) so I can't remember where we saw them...


Natural High's Beef Stroganoff
8 out of 10 (yeah, we're getting harsher with our ratings ;-)
It's really hard to screw up Beef Stroganoff, and Natural High doesn't. It was a bit salty but that's not always a bad thing... btw - I bought every brand's Beef Stroganoff so we could compare and contrast. So you'll be getting 6 reviews of the stuff, but all from different makers.

Not sure if anyone watched Anderson Cooper tonight but I gotta tell you... I was in tears through most of it. If *I* am having flashbacks from just watching the disaster unfold via CNN last year, I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for those who lived through it. If you have a pet or children and you don't have a disaster plan, please don't assume you don't need one just because you live in (fill in the blank). Are your dogs and cats micro-chipped? Do they have collars, with name tags and your cell phone on them? If they have your home number on them, can you forward your home phone to your cell phone in an emergency? Do you have food and water and any medicines they might need stored with your carriers/crates? Do you have photos of them and descriptions (white patch on left hind third toe)? It might never happen but what will it cost you to have a disaster plan now just in case?

For all of those who died a year ago tomorrow and throughout the next few weeks, please take a moment and remember them - animals and humans, and those who tried to save them.
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