Friday, September 16, 2005

Back in Action in Jackson

I'm back at my uncle's place in Jackson today, having spent the last week down in Biloxi with my family. As you can probably imagine, it was something of an emotional trip - lots of driving slowly in silence, trying to take in all the devastation. Honestly, I don't think the reality of Hurricane Katrina really hit me until I was staring at the piles of debris that used to be my neighborhood. Believe me, it wasn't pretty. But, when the going gets tough, as the old saying goes...

The Tough Get Going

Though my parents' house in Biloxi came through with only an inch of water, my sister's apartment in Bay St.Louis didn't fare so well. (The entire complex is being demolished.) So, we strapped on our boots and trekked on over there sometime last week to salvage everything that could be saved. My sister, as some of you may know, is an avid collector of all things Disney, so we had to roll a TON of snow globes and figurines up in tissue paper and walk them down to the car one by one. That was fun. *rolls eyes* We also managed to save my great-grandmother's kitchen set and a table that's been in the family for 4 generations. Sadly, a lot of collectible dolls (most of them were my mom's) were in a case that got ruined. Nature doesn't discriminate.

The following day, my buddy Daniel Leavengood (whose family made it through the storm unscathed, thank God) took me along as he and a group of about 17 students from Clemson University's Reformed University Fellowship went around Biloxi doing free yard service and tree removal. I can only say it was an honor to work with these young people and to see the kindness they showed to people they'd never even met. Similarly, a Presbyterian church group from Florida came through my parents' neighborhood and cleared all their trees out (free of charge) as well. And that's not the half of it. All through Biloxi, people were offering free meals, supplies, water, lawn services, and any number of other things. These were people who'd come from as far away as New Jersey wanting nothing more than to help. Truly, the best of mankind is in Biloxi right now. The whole time I was there I kept hearing Anne Frank's words running through my head: "I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

A Good Laugh Now

For those of you who've heard the whispers, allow me to confirm that the rumor is true. My dad WAS in fact interviewed on CNN. Yes, disaster strikes, our dog almost has a heart attack, the neighborhood is decimated, but still you put a camera in my dad's face and he's ready to go. (Gee, I wonder who I take after in that respect.) If you want to see his clip, go to and then click the "Browse/Search" option on their FREE VIDEO link. Once you're there, do a search for "Jonathan Freed" and then select the clip called "Surviving Katrina". As you'll see, my dad used his stage name, Tommy Joe Breaux, which pissed my mom off to no end. (And if Mom's pissed at Dad, it's a pretty good sign that things are getting back to normal.) :)

So What's Next?

If you're wondering about the status of my employment/education, I guess you should know that I was officially laid off from Chaffe-McCall last week. It seems they couldn't find anything for me in the Baton Rouge office. It's okay, though. They cut me a nice fat severance check, which will get me through to wherever I happen to end up. As of right now I've got offers to stay with friends and family in various parts of the country (I'm so loved), and I'm also giving some consideration to the military, which would help pay for my education in light of my graduate studies at U.N.O. being put on hiatus. Some of you may laugh at the idea of me joining the military, but it really makes perfect sense if you think about it. I'm very patriotic, I'm used to being disciplined (see also "6 years of Catholic school"), and of course I've always wanted to travel. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed and pray for me.

Shout! Shout! Let it All Out!

This is a little obscene, but if you can handle it I hope you'll check out Foamy the Squirrel's Hurricane Katrina rant:
We've all got frustration brewing over this thing, and I think this little squirrel puts everything in perspective quite nicely.

Enjoy, take care of yourselves, get in touch, and please keep those most affected by Hurricane Katrina in your thoughts and prayers. Also, a quick sidenote to that elite social entity known as The Group: I talked to Giuliano on Wednesday. He's fine, though part of the abbey took a pretty big hit. I should probably see him next week sometime and if the phones work (always a 50-50 crap shoot) we'll try and give everyone a quick call.

That said, I send my best to everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey J, If you go to you can check out photos from our day of work. Was good to see you wish would could of just hung and talked more. Was truely a stagering weekend on many levels.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey this is Holly golightly here and I just went home too and got to drive from Long beach to Mary Mahoney's on 90. Crazy. Also got to help with the red cross and a few other organizations. Took like 8 rolls of film. Will send photos as soon as possible. promise. Glad everyone is ok. And you know you love those snow globes. A

11:10 PM  

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