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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

John Biguenet Homecoming-A Video Report

Oct. 10, 2005
Homecoming — A Video Report

My family and I fled our house near the lakefront of New Orleans more than five weeks ago to escape the approaching Hurricane Katrina. For nearly three of those past five weeks, salt water from a breached levee flooded our house. A few days ago, we finally returned to see what the storm had done to our home.

See the video.

The temperature in New Orleans most days in September was in the 90’s; with the windows and doors shut, the temperature inside must have been over 100 degrees. Even as the roughly four feet of stagnant water sat in our living room, our dining room, our laundry room, our kitchen, a downstairs bathroom, and my study, mold began to colonize the white walls. When the water finally receded, the mold descended with it, eventually carpeting the floor with malodorous slime and staining every surface with vivid, furry blotches.

The flood somehow toppled bookshelves, lifted a heavy sofa onto a staircase, tossed furniture across the room. Impossibly, a bottle of wine from the dining room made its way through an open door into the living room, past a jumble of furniture, to stand upright just a few steps from the front door. I had been warned by neighbors not to open the refrigerator; I took their advice. But even with a mask on, the hour I spent surveying the wreck water had made of our house left my throat raw, my nostrils singed with the acrid scent of — I don’t know how else to describe it — something dead.

The video and photographs I took on our first visit back to the house give a glimpse of what we found waiting for us at home.

See the video. [I hope you guys can see these. -jenny]



The force of the storm twisted the fence, hurling sections as far as the front door of the house.




The living room: I can’t explain how the furniture wound up where it did; nothing is in its original spot.




The mold on a living room wall.




My study in ruins.




A tin tool shed blew away in the storm; an exposed basin is now thick with pea-green mold.




The high water mark on our garage doors is shoulder high on Marsha, my wife.


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