Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Home away from home

I'm sharing this RV with a reporter from Lexington and a temp worker to be named later.

It really isn't bad at all, as you can tell from the second photo. Can't call it luxurious, but it has A/C, a fridge, a microwave, working "facilities" and cold running water for the shower, which isn't as bad as it sounds when it keeps hitting 93 degrees here. Although we can't drink the water, just like inside the office.

This RV is sitting in The Sun Herald's parking lot, along with a half dozen others. As you can tell from the big red number, at one time there were at least 20 of these things crowding around the newspaper building. But locals are getting a semblance of shelter together for themselves, and the newspaper doesn't need as many migrant workers like myself helping out.

The Gulf Coast has really gotten to "the new normal," as people around here keep saying. Stores and restaurants are open and very busy. People are returning to work, or finding new jobs.

But a lot of rebuilding is ahead.

It's difficult to take a picture that demonstrates what needs to be done here, or at least what needs to be done in the areas I've seen. But perhaps you've been to a neighborhood that's been hit by a tornado, or at least a strong thunderstorm. There are pieces of shingles in the street and blue tarps on almost every roof. Piles of tree limbs and soggy trash are heaped up on and over the curb. The residents are picking through their belongings and repairing their homes.

Now, imaging that it's not a few blocks, but several miles. And every street you look down as you drive by has the same scene, over and over and over.

So just imagine a tornado hit town. A hundred-mile wide one.

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