Monday, November 07, 2005

photo by Paul Treuting
The waterline halfway up the siding on this house in Picayune, Mississippi, means that although it's still standing, it will need to be rebuilt. The orange markings indicate that the house was searched by rescue teams, and no bodies were found.

Brother Paul Treuting, president of Local 1707 of the Laborers International Union (North America), kindly sent AFGE his account of New Orleans, his hometown, after the storm, a story he originally sent his LIUNA collegues in late September. Treuting works on a National Guard base in Mississippi.

FORT WORTH, TEX.--We evacuated our F-15's here on August 27th, before Katrina hit our area. We (14 of us) came here on September 19th to check on the status of our aircraft and were told to stay in place until Hurricane Rita passed thru the Gulf...

Those areas that were flooded were searched for the living by Task Force Teams from Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Missouri, New Hampshire and California. Listening to those folks' stories at dinner was amazing.

Where the water stopped is where they launched their boats. Each team was given a neighborhood to search. They would go door-to-door, knocking and beating on a home for any response. Some folks were still in their attics and replied with their frantic calls. Many were rescued through holes that were either axed or chain-sawed. Homes where bodies were found were marked with red spray paint and the location marked by GPS coordinates.

When possible, the bodies were secured with care and respect, so not to float around. In some areas, the water was three to four feet deep. In other parts, houses were submerged to the roof peaks...Many small coastal towns and communities are obliterated like a game of Pixy Stix gone wrong...

Click here to read Brother Treuting's complete story.


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