Saturday, September 24, 2005

Latest Updates From Louisiana and Texas

I awoke at 11:45 to an email update on the house in Lafayette from my mom. She was obviously unaware that I had heard the news and was including me on the update to everyone else as well. She also went on to include a further clarification to me containing more info.

So here is the story now that Garrett and Nicole have been outside:

Two trees fell on the corner of our house where my room was located. The structural integrity of the house has not been compromised but the room and most everything left in it is probably ruined because the rain hasn't completely stopped. Garrett has been wanting to get in there to clean up the insulation and use a wet/dry vac but the insurance company doesn't want him to do anything but take pictures. Note the insurance company: Garrett didn't pull two trees down so my parents could make a bogus claim!

Internet service has not returned to the house yet but of course as soon as it does, Garrett will send us all pictures. My dad has us on three waiting lists for help from the insurance company, a tree surgeon and the company that takes care of our lawn. Apparently one of our other trees in the front ward was snapped off on the trunk like a twig. Garrett will be moving all of our family photos and his expensive computer equipment to my grandparents' house once it is safe to do so.

Nicole has not been able to reach her family in De Ridder, LA. Her parents had planned to stay there and for a time, Garrett and Nicole were planning to evacuate there but it is almost due north of Lake Charles, LA and my parents and I suggested that they not head into the potential path of the storm as Rita began turning east. De Ridder is pretty far inland and Nicole's parents are most likely fine, but they do not have cell phones and they are most likely without power.

Garrett and Nicole had also contemplated moving east to Baton Rouge, LA to stay with Nicole's sister prior to the storm, but it appears that they fared about the same as Lafayette in terms of high winds and rain. Plus there was the risk that Garrett and Nicole could have gotten stuck on the Atchafalaya Basin portion of I-10. As it turns out, Lafayette was probably the safest place for them despite the damage to the house. In fact, had they not been there, the damage to things stored in my room and other parts of the house would have been considerably worse and many of those things are irreplaceable such as family photographs.

When I spoke to my dad this morning, he had already spoken to Danielle's dad, Karl, who said that things were fine in The Woodlands, but they have lost power. Karl is now driving Danielle's grandmother back down to the Friendswood area so that she can get back to her house. My aunt, uncle and cousin who left Spring, TX for the Austin area are now heading back home as well.

As far as College Station goes, neither my mom nor dad made any mention of damage in the area. They really want to make the trip over to Lafayette as soon as possible but it might be hard today because of (1) the gas shortage in Houston due to the evacuation and (2) rumors that an overpass on I-10 collapsed near Iowa, LA. There are other more time consuming ways to get to Lafayette, but if this is true, it means that between Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, access to the major interstate artery across south Louisiana has been cut off from from both Texas and Mississippi. To quote my roommate Quinn, "Rita and Katrina are two bitches!"

One last thing my mom mentioned in her email was the way that Garrett and Nicole have been dealing with the damage and responsibility for the house through all of this.

The rain let up for a while and Garrett and Nicole went outside to look at things. Sightseers are driving thru the neighborhood and cars are stopping in front of our house and just looking. Nicole said, "It's like Christmas and our house has the best lights on the block!" I'm amazed as her and Garrett's sense of humor thru-out this harrowing ordeal!!

Amen to that!

1 comment:

Bubba said...

Word from Clear Lake, no damage, some tree limbs down in the yard, that's it. They drove back to Houston today from Dallas, made it in 8 hours taking back roads to the west of I-45. Once they got to Houston there were very few cars on the road. My sister in Friendswood never lost power but at my parents house we are guessing power was out Friday night through Saturday afternoon, but all is well.