Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CCC: Day Two

Blogger is down now, so this will be posted later, probably tomorrow morning.

Today was a good day. Actually, it started out great: we had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I love biscuits and gravy. I'd have to say its a tie between B&G and creamed chipped beef (affectionately called S.O.S. when I was growing up) for best breakfast food.

We skipped the morning meeting and started collecting supplies for the days work. Alan and I put together a box of painting supplies, but didn't have enough arms to get it to the car. Unfortunately, when we got back, another group was rummaging through the box. Alan thought we could take the paint roller back by force, but we decided against it.

The rest of the day was a blur of wall mud. Lots and lots of mud. We weren't able to patch under the bathroom sink with drywall, so we used some sheets of tin, instead. It doesn't look _too_ bad.

Mrs. Ramsey made chicken breast sandwiches for lunch, and served them with Doritos and Oreos ... yum!

Back to work, and more mud. By 4:00, we has all the seems taped, and all the gaps filled. We actually decided to cut the day short, and we took a drive West towards Biloxi. It was astounding: miles of empty lots, with occasional standing structures: the shells of buildings at University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast; a gutted Wal-Mart, boarded up hotels. Mountains of refuge in parking lots. It has been ten months, there is very little new construction.

While the demolished and damaged houses break my heart, its the lack of commerce that really struck me. So many people put out of work. It becomes a weird chicken and egg scenrerio: even with FEMA money, how can you rebuild your home if you don't have a job? And who wants to build hotels, stores and restaurants along a coast were no one has money to spend?

That's not to say there isn't any progress. Further inland we saw lots of repaired houses. Many of them quite beautiful in their simplicity. And, during our 12 mile tour, we saw at least two condominium developments in progress. Its almost like someone hit the reset switch down here; I don't know what it looked like a year ago, but it will never be the same.

Yesterday, I said the storm ripped off the back of Mrs. Ramsey's shop. In fact, it only ripped off the roof.
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