Friday, December 23, 2005

Salvage/Excavation Finished

Here's a little before and after for ya. Willie White and his guys picked the rubble apart by hand and it's done. There are numerous posts and millwork pieces I have saved. Also window casings which will help so that we can match them or remill them. The ironwork is in the pod, which we now refer to as 'the office'.

We debated whether or not to pull up the floors and we are going to attempt to wait for a variety of reasons. One good reason to keep them is that it keeps the footprint solid and also avoids the need for an industrial container. The risks are water and thieves but I have a lot of eyes and ears in the neighborhood. These tarps are very thick and with some tweaking, should be
good enough. The grass is pretty ripped up so the good news is that I won't have to mow for a while.

The next big thing is the insurance settlement. We are still waiting for Lloyds to send some sort of number to us that we will most likely reject. We'd love to get in there and get back to work, as many property owners in New Orleans would like to do but the sluggish response from the insurance companies are causing a huge bottleneck in the rebuilding process.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gables Come Down

The Gables came down today. Wow, what a process . . .this is the only time Willie has had to use a power tool. All the rest has been taken down with crowbars. Eve, NPR reporter, came by, all excited. "This is a huge story!", she said. She has been researching all the aspects of preservation and salvage. It is fascinating and an industry unto itself. The interview should be on NPR later this week. It's beginning to feel pretty sad that my house will be gone. Well, it will be in a giant box.

Sorry if the photos are wacked, I had a heck of time with that part today.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Treasures

So my neighbors, 4 of them, who are affected by my fallen house, had to be notified of the excavation so they can tarp, etc. Not surprisingly, only one person called.
Gladys Phillip.
She just wanted to know if my insurance was going to pay to fix her house. . . . I was waiting for these calls. I told her I would ask my adjuster and would do what I could to toss some
corporate cash in her direction.
No go. Gladys didn't have insurance. Pensioner,
has paid the house off years ago. I did tell her about the PRC's rebuilding together program but that was the best I could offer. She asked me if I could tarp her roof or something and Willie did mention he would do his best to seal the affected homes. So, I underpromised, overperform. That's my M.O. anyway.

The majority of the floor has been uncovered. The boards are way warped. Don't know if they, the very most valuable part of the house, can be reused. However, these tiles around the fireplace are intact in the the 4 fireplaces that had this original detail. Willie has also retrieved the millwork, some windows. It's really fascinating and surprising what survived !

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Autopsy

The work of picking apart the house has started. Willie White is the best in the biz. He was recommended to me by the Dir. of the LA Landmarks Society and he really is great. He got my permits through the back-door in one day and is fine with me keeping some of my own wood rather than pressuring me to sell it to him. Some I will let him have, some I will keep and some I will donate to the Green Project. I am giving some tiles to a friend so he can patch his roof and they have a large pile of maybe 1500 bricks they have salvaged already. NPR did an interview with Willie and I about salvage, I hope it makes it to the air. He did a great job, I want to hear it.

There is an unscrupulous band of architectural raiders who steal this stuff from people's houses and a master pirate who pays people for these stolen items. So we are pretty worried about our
stuff over there being stolen. I am on the task of getting an industrial container for the wood which could be on our property for months before we can rebuild.

I have to head to the restaurant and am always under some sort of thing to do so I apologize for
the brevity today. I want to tell you about the damage to the neighbors....remind me.