The Civilized Disaster

tarps after Laura

Some of our parishioners get these old billboard covers that a lot of people use as tarps and covers, for boats, cars – houses after hurricanes. This MacDonald’s billboard above made it to the local news, which is a fun story – people were stopping by to place orders. And it’s helping save the house from any further rain damage.

An Omelet is Born

I brought my propane camp stove and some propane canisters so Fr. John can prepare actual meals from time to time and not live on cold cuts and cookies.

It’s debatable as to whether or not what’s in the photo is an actual meal. It’s a rotisserie chicken omelet, with softened red onions and … a few other things.

It was to die for.

Thankfully enough of the rotisserie chicken survived the bribing of Little Cujo to make it into an omelet and it was a great excuse to get outside in a good way, eat healthy items, and have some fun. And once you get a hang of the camp stove you can prepare great things on it.

Don’t ask me how I know that.

Sometimes going in to help after hurricanes…

…is all about not only the obvious cleanup but bringing moments of civilized living back into the mix as well – after you put the plants back into place, pick up the roof shingles, take the laundry off the line, find a table to use, lug tree branches, pick up pottery shards, trudge all over creation in the sweltering 97 degrees in the shade heat, unseal windows, and convince Fr. John to go into the house with his dog snarling at the entry – and I am a dog-loving person fwiw – to get utensils, butter, plates.

It was fun a moment. I hope he has power soon, but if not I’m bringing a different coffee pot next week.

Sometimes a man just has to have his coffee.


Surviving Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Cleanup

Hurricanes are killer storms, but living through the storm itself is, for most, not the hard part. It’s the aftermath that’s depressing and can usually have no end in sight.

I brought a load of much needed tarps, bags of much needed ice, and many other things over to my friend Fr. John Payne’s Parish. We’re sending more over in the next few days.

Cujo the Doglet
Sweet Little Cujo, in a rare non-snarling photo.

Fr. John evacuated with his hound, a vicious psychotic little thing many somehow love, to his parents house in Arizona. He then turned around and drove back to be with his parishioners. His dog is scarred, probably for life.

It may be because I’m 6’6”, it may be because Little Cujo is psycho, but when Fr. John wasn’t around the smiles disappeared, the crouching and snarling started and I had to bribe him with luncheon meats to move freely about the house without being mauled.

The Kitchen Table, cleared after the windows were unsealed and Cujo bribed with a pound of ham.
Church Trees

A lot of the leaves were blown off these trees, and there are downed limbs all over the place, with parts of the roof, side boards from the church walls, debris. Et cetera.

What does one say?

It’s depressing after awhile seeing the same piles of leaves down. The same telephone poles. The same branches.

Church damage

Relatively unscathed. A lot of work to be done but the heavy damage starts just a few miles West of here. I saw it but decided not to sight see. So much to be done. So many people hurting.

Fr. John celebrated Mass and even though I was the only one in attendance – I didn’t bring an alb and was dripping with sweat – he gave a great Homily.

The Cemetery

The Parish Cemetery is across this field. A lot of trees came down at the edges, some headstones are toppled though most are miraculously untouched.

Remnants of Storm Surge are not far from here and that post flood smell – immensely rank and a mainstay of post-Katrina living – was omnipresent along these roads and byways.

I had a great visit with Fr. John and everyone was grateful for the supplies and help. Our Parish will be sending more, and we’ll continue helping as we can.


The Rev. Kenneth Allen