Thursday, September 15, 2005

One Family's FEMA Horror Story

A few days ago, a family made their way back by boat to their home in Lakeview to get a first-hand look at everything that they own... their entire life, other than loved ones.

I've seen what it looks like inside of these homes... black mold up to the ceilings, the walls feel swolen and everything sweats, the air is stifling and smells... unholy, belongings are scattered and piled up in big uncomprehensible piles, raw sewagage and e-coli water lovingly embracing everything, langorously drifting down as the waters recede - no documents would survive - no furniture - nothing.

As far as the house itself, who knows... I've heard conflicting stories - Once black mold gets in a home, you can get it out... or once balck mold gets in a house, it must be torn down. Who knows how all of this will wash out.

The family was FINALLY able to get in touch with FEMA via telephone. They spoke with operator Nadine, #8869, out of Philadelphia.

Nadine, operator #8869, went back and forth with this family who has LOST EVERYTHING, their jobs, their home, every photograph, every document.

Here are some of the highlights (remember, they simply visited their home - by boat):

• Nadine, operator #8869: "I'm sorry, you're not eligible for the $2,000 general living reimburesement because you are back in the dwelling."
• Nadine, operator #8869: "No, you're not eligible for any FEMA property assistance because you have entered the dwelling."
• Nadine, operator #8869: "Mam, you must have all re-consideration documentation mailed to your dwelling, as you are now back in your dwelling."
• Nadine, operator #8869: "Sorry lady, but Mobile (Alabama) was hit much harder than New Orleans."

Thad... would you have some mid-level beaurecrat set up at least a powerpoint demonstration for your operators explaining what the hell is going on down here?

This reminds me in a way of the scene in "The Jerk" when Navin (Steve Martin) is working for the carnival guessing people's weight and he comes to the realization that you want to give away the crap. Hey Thad, me again... would you tell your people that they WANT to give out the assistance.

I have even been told by other individuals that their homes were rejected for FEMA assistance because the house has already been inspected by FEMA... these individuals homes are a mile into Lakeview and under ten feet of water... Damn, those FEMA inspectors are quick about it.

If you have a FEMA nightmare, email it to me at gulfsails at hotmail dot com and I'll post it here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, give FEMA a break! Obviously, poor Nadine is in one of the affected areas and hasn't seen any television, read a newspaper, or even those primary news magazines like People, much less had access to the internet. Good thing their phone lines are up and running!

OH wait, I get it. That call was actually taken in India and Pakistan where so many of our tech questions go. You can't expect those poor folk to be up to date on problems down south in New Orleans!

8:55 AM, September 15, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a call for FEMA related horror stories. If you have one, please consider visiting

There you will find instructions for getting your tale of woe out to the rest of the world.

10:26 AM, September 15, 2005  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Amazing to me that ANY FEMA inspectors have been there. It took us 4-6 weeks to get a FEMA inspection in Florida last year and they had to come AFTER the insurance inspector.

10:50 AM, September 15, 2005  
Anonymous claire said...

Another indication that our Federal Government is completely incapable of it's primary duty: that of taking care of it's citizens.

Is there someone (anyone?) who is compiling horror stories like this to be turned over to the Katrina Commission once it is finally established?

God help us all. The lunatics are running the asylum.

1:17 PM, September 15, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police Run Background Checks On Hurricane Victims Staying In Wis.
2 People Denied Entrance To Shelter After Refusing To Give Identification

POSTED: 10:23 am CDT September 16, 2005
UPDATED: 11:11 am CDT September 16, 2005

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- The Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP is angry that Hurricane Katrina evacuees are undergoing criminal background checks at State Fair Park.

Police and county officials say the criminal checks were done on about 200 evacuees to ensure everyone's safety. The majority of the evacuees are black.

Local NAACP president Jerry Ann Hamilton said the evacuees have already gone through enough. Milwaukee County Executive spokesman Rod McWilliams said it was a very cursory check to identify anyone with an outstanding felony warrant.

McWilliams said they were also looking for registered sex offenders, so they could be housed separately.

Two evacuees who objected to giving their name and date of birth were denied entrance to the Red Cross shelter at State Fair Park.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.

11:45 AM, September 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That stuff in the above comment about Milwaukee is fine and justified. There are tales of horror, not about FEMA but about the behavior of some of the refugees, coming out of Houston and elsewhere. It makes sense that the authorities isolate the trouble spots in that regard. If people refuse to give ID, how can anyone be sure they're actually FROM NOLA, and aren't just there to prey on the weak?

As for the FEMA stuff, it's a perfect example of the government's total ineptitude. America has to take care of itself. Down with Washington, Down with Hollywood!!!

11:59 AM, September 16, 2005  
Anonymous Will I am said...

It's TOO obvious to anyone who has witnessed the Bush man on TV how inept the govt. is on taking care of crisis. NY mayor jumped in and took care of business in the 911 and the Bush man looked for the photo op with the older fireman that became a good promo for himself.
Well Georgie Porgie tried to do it again here with FEMA director Mike Brown where they all patted each other's back as people weltered in the heat and frustration but the media countered their BS with live coverage.
Downtown Mikey Brown may have screwed up, but I think it's more than likely he was caught in the gears of an inept beaurocrasy and ya know the Bushman is gonna dodge the bullet every chance he gets and look for his next photo op.

11:31 AM, September 17, 2005  
Blogger cookie jill said...

Bureaucracies are made up of people. If the people aren't willing to get things done and question the inneptitude they see around them, we will continue to have the extreme detatchment from reality. We will continue to see cronyism and graft in government and companies.

There is blame to go around, but once Gov. Blanco signed that declaration of National Disaster (4 days before Katrina hit) according to the laws set by the Bush Administration, the Federal Government was the one heading the show. They were to call all the shots. If they couldn't get trailers, food, people heading down to the areas that they knew were in extreme danger, you simply have to question the people in charge. They knew 4 days out they were dealing with a massive storm. They knew the projections on what would happen to New Orleans on such an occassion. Yet PEOPLE failed to do their jobs. PEOPLE failed to take action. PEOPLE failed to immediately question those in charge and get the gears going.

When you see wrong...when you see inneptitude...when you see things that aren't being done right, you need to step up...voice up...act up. That's what I was always taught. I always thought that was what Jesus would have taught too.

12:22 PM, September 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people need to start thinking about what to do now. The gov. has resources to go to WAR and help other countrys no I.D. checks ect. they need to start fixing whats wrong and pevent such tragic aftermaths in the future. in Michigan there are litterly thousands of houses up for sale why can't the govt. buy up or use the HUD houses that are already in place to shelter some of these people. Quit acting like it's there money that there spending when it belongs to the citizens we have room in our schools and resources to help quit wasting time.

12:11 PM, September 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to get an update on the Nadine story.

Best wishes


1:27 PM, September 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please review my website below which I created for those who have frustrations and complaints concerning FEMA.

My 80 yr. old mother has still not received anything from FEMA. I received $2,000 but last week received a letter saying I will have to return the sum, as I had already applied for my mother. Each of us live in a duplex owned by my mother. I pay her rent and have a different address.

My ex-wife just now received a FEMA trailer. Her house and my 36-yr. old handicap daughter's apt. were unlivable. The have been living with friends in a small 3- bedroom house.

I am a New Orleans musician. I was laid off as my office was flooded and has to gutted. Now, I have no medical, no gigs and no job. I do have my house and thankfully, by guitars.

I would look forward to an interview. People forget quickly. Katrina survivors must keep our story alive.

Thanks for you consideration.

Richard Rowley


10:21 PM, November 28, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know about the ignorance of fema. I filed 9/26, I have called over a dozen times to check status. It takes 20 minutes or more to speak to someone. And then every time I called I was given different information as to what they needed from me. I faxed and certified mailed the information. They finally sent an inspector out last month. And now my case is still pending.
I know people who filed over the net and lied about their living situations and got $2000 within a week. And they are avoiding the inspectors. What is worse is the inspectors are giving up on inspecting their homes and validating their claims. They are being very strict in my case where I have supplied reciepts and open my door to the inspector, but to these thieves they are not pushing the issue. Makes no sense to me. Fema needs to wake up and see who they are letting down and who they are letting steal from us.

2:07 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous John said...

This post was very cool. I'd love to see more like it.

6:32 PM, April 06, 2006  

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