Monday, April 10, 2006

The Future Still Will Not Occur

The new session started today (I like a TR schedule--Sunday is less panicked and Monday is less Monday than Tuesday) and I've found myself rehearsing policies/procedures/syllabus threats like You can fail this class, and Don't think I can't tell you're not reading the book; as short as this 'semester' is, you read the book and understand it or you fail the course, and If I tell you to go to the writing center and/or get tutoring, do so or you will fail the course, the theme of failure-- the final F, the 0 on the assignment or 40 points off the late essay and one-comma-wrong-on-the- bib-and-it's-all-wrong said while staring out the top of my glasses for a full 20 or 30 seconds before leaning away with a slight smirk of knowing. Then an, Oh, yeah, you can pass without doing the homework but it's not likely you will. Questions about the syllabus?

I have one class with 2 students. It's essentially an independent study. I could even bring them to my house. I don't know about that, though. Most people I know still haven't been in my house, lots of people I mostly trust, too. But it is oddly informal and flexible post-Kat with family, friends and neighbors on couches and people camping out in half-gutted (or gutted--see below) houses--my mother's 'office' (a drafting table she has piled with paper, envelopes, calendars, coupons, catalogues, Mardi Gras decorations, paperwork, folders, pens, pencils, receipts, photocopies, and other stuff I refuse to get close enough to see and understand) and the perpetually-open sofabed in The Girl's room aren't quite half a skipped step.

Action Report: Woman lives in gutted home, waiting for FEMA trailer

11:09 AM CST on Friday, March 31, 2006

By Bill Capo / WWL-TV Action Reporter

As FEMA officials point the finger at Entergy for moving some residents into their travel trailers, that answer has not been good enough for those living in their cars or in gutted houses, who've been left wondering how long it would take to get some peace of mind by having a roof over their heads.

One of the many victims of Hurricane Katrina living without a trailer is Sharon, a school teacher, who's been forced to live in her hurricane damaged house. The downstairs has been gutted and the upstairs had so many roof leaks she has to sleep on a mattress on the floor. She's had to use a cooler as her refrigerator. Candles and battery operated lights are her only sources of light in the house.

She asked FEMA for a trailer last October.

She lost her job after Katrina. When the contractors eventually take down her damaged ceilings, she won't even be able to live in her damaged house, but has no idea when the FEMA trailer will arrive.

"I've worked 31 years for New Orleans Public Schools and I've always taken care of myself. And now I'm unemployed, I was forced into retirement, and I'm having to live like this," Sharon said.

Sharon is not alone. Many people have called the Action Line and said they also applied for trailers weeks or even months ago. Now all of those calls have been given to the agency, but FEMA officials said some people still have a long wait.

"I think we're looking at eight to ten weeks more of rolling trailers out," said Stephen DeBlasio, FEMA Deputy Operations Chief.

FEMA's top trailer expert in Louisiana said the agency's contractors were delivering 4,500 trailers per day in the state, but the demand far exceeded what the agency was asked to do after Florida's disastrous 2004 hurricane season.

"We thought Florida was unprecedented and monumental, and it was at the time. But you know what, after I rolled out 16,000 units, and went home in December, we were pretty much done. At this point, we're over 54,000 units out there occupied in the state of Louisiana," DeBlasio said.

DeBlasio said the eventual total could reach more than 90,000 and asked for understanding from those still on the waiting list.

"I tell them to try to bear with us and be patient, and if there are extreme circumstances that we need to be aware of, I encourage them to either call the 888 travel trailer number, or call the 1-800 FEMA number," DeBlasio said.

He said he understands that for people like Sharon, waiting even one more day is intolerable, but that has done the best he can in an overwhelming situation.

[Warning: you have to register with WWL-TV to read the articles. They suck.]

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