One of the strangest things about this whole experience is not knowing. It's been three weeks since I left. What do I know now? Not much.
From what I can tell, the flood waters stopped at my street. Two blocks on the other side of me, along the river, the warehouses burned down. So my immediate neighborhood may be okay, including my own house, but everything around it is gone. My landlord finally called me, to report that he is okay and tell crazy stories about trying to hold the neighborhood together--escorting women so they wouldn't be raped, etc--until the National Guard forced him out. Another friend told me that he had friends in the Marigny who managed to get back to check on their things and found that everything--everything--was gone. The house hadn't flooded at all, but someone had helped themselves to the furniture, appliances, clothes, and art.
And yet, every day brings a new, contradictory report, like this one describing a four block area that my house borders:
"A friend of mine went to the Bywater yesterday, he is a doctor and managed to get past the road block. He told me when he got to Clouet Street, there was barbwire across the streets of Chartres, Royal, Dauphine and Burgundy, and the area was closed two blks down to Piety. On the Barbwire, was a sign that read, "Closed to Public, Chemical Spill Keep Out!" Of course he went in anyway and checked on our house at 814 Louisa St. He didn't see any sign of a spill anywhere, i'm thinking this could be from the Fire at the wharf...
After a couple of days of feeling much better, I'm starting to feel worse.