Thursday, August 23, 2007

Everything Counts

Lil Roger Running in Circles
My Nephew Running Circles

Because we are living at the rate of two years for every one year since Katrina in our new life of intense civic engagement in New Orleans, I am finding that blogging has been helpful. I found that I can go back to my previous posts over the last two years and see how much I have learned and what I/we have accomplished. Mostly I am shocked, because in my head, it's all a blur. I sometimes wonder if we are running in circles or making real progress. Beginning from this post Red Sticker , I learned how I know how to get solidly removed from these lists. Now, I can get a house in tax adjudication threat fixed and I have gotten houses in very precarious situations more time, so the owners can stablize them.

After working with Karen on Squandered Heritage, I am now a "List Master". Not only that, I can suggest a contractor who is an expert on these old homes and an engineer who can give you a report on-the-spot. I have successfully helped owners apply for grants for historic building repair.

Since my house was hand salvaged by Willie White, my fascination with his level of knowledge led me follow him all over this city to teach me how these houses are put together. He has taken the time to show me the learning curve about "architectural forensics". We have crawled under many of our city's oldest buildings in the last year and what I thought was new was actually old. He taught me how to evaluate a building from the bottom up.

It really gives me a shudder to look back on my post for the approach of Hurricane Katrinawhich is now just horrifyingly prescient. To compare this with that last one from when MY house was on these threatening demolition lists it's all very logical that I am now assisting my fellow residents in getting some peace of mind by negotiating the labyrinth of processes I had to overcome myself. I can read that Red List post and see how I felt so afraid and the feelings of despair I held about the whole nightmare. And now I can see what we can do !

Many thanks to Karen for creating Squandered Heritage a viable project, something truly useful that I can look at as a real, solid outcome of all this. This, on the 2nd Anniversary of this all-consuming recovery from a great disaster. We both now know, it will be many years of continued diligence before things are stable. It's been a wild ride but as I look back, it makes sense.

As we had said to one another back in October of 2005, when we were under curfew, clearing our own streets of debris, helping our neighbors gut their homes, helping our friends open their restaurants to feed our fellow residents and give them a place to meet and heal over a meal. Today, two years later, we are still hungry for any sort of information from the people who are in charge at various agencies. We are still helping people gut their homes. The saying still stands.

Everything Counts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Salvage Online

As I begin to sell my own salvaged items from the house, I spoke to my salvager and we decided it would be smart to start a site to put architectural items online where people can browse at their leisure.

All the salvage warehouses are getting quite full with the high number of demolitions. I have begun with my own items from my salvage of my house. The hand salvage cost about 14K. This is not going to help me recoup those costs but could help find good homes for the items saved. I hope to add more content from various non-profit salvage programs in order to provide people a place to browse some of the best items online.

Hopping from salvage yard to salvage yard is very time consuming. With so much available, an online way to view them might be helpful in getting these specialty items back into commerce. My idea is that is be a clearinghouse for online architectural salvage. At least a cross-section of what is available.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Taking Inventory

Pod Inventory (9)

Last night there was another shoot out in Treme which left two dead. The City Council scandal this week, the assessor's nightmare which citizens are burden with and the general spaz de media which is about to happen because of K-2 is just making this place all the more torturous. This place is sucking the life out of everyone. It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.

Someone I know was at a family reunion last weekend and many people asked her how things were in New Orleans. She was a) aghast that they really had no clue and b) she said she could not answer that broad question.

We have resolved the insurance issue finally and now I am putting my lot on the market. I am working with Willie White to remove the foundation and flooring, which he will be able to keep thanks to his tight tarp job, a year and a half ago now.

I am taking inventory of the salvaged items in the pod so I can sell them.

Things here will improve but it will take years and years. . . I do not want to die waiting for that to happen.