Hurricane Ida Update 8/31/21
No major injuries during the storm, no storm related fatalities. Amazing and Blessed! We are experiencing more injuries during the clean-up process … be careful and don't over do it.

ELECTRICITY: I spoke to CLECO this morning. We can expect restoration of power in weeks, not days nor months. Any more definitive guess would just be a guess.

BOIL WATER ADVISORY remains in effect as a precaution.
YESTERDAY great headway was made on opening roads. Out-of-State crews began arriving, cutting and clearing. Today the # of crews will reach 13. By days end we should see significant progress. ALSO YESTERDAY focus was on water service. All water wells are operating albeit on generator power.
Lack of available diesel fuel was scary, but replenished today.
TODAY Pub Works' focus is on sewer lift stations and bridge inspections. Of 68 lift stations we could only lay eyes on maybe 20 yesterday. Many are broken (electronic panels inundated, pumps burned out), one destroyed. We hope to assess the rest of them today (assuming access), compile a scope of work, then hire a contractor. There is no reasonable guess of a timeline. Continue to use toliets. The City cannot advise on opening clean-outs.

BRIDGE inspections to be certain the big trucks coming into town can safely cross.

GARBAGE pick-up may or may not run tomorrow. If so, household garbage only (no greenwaste). Tree, limbs and leaves should be left curbside without bagging for future pick-up.

CURFEW, dusk to dawn remains in effect tonight. Zero reports of looting. Many, many reports of neighbors helping neighbors.

Pictures are from yesterday, early evening. Stay Safe and Take Care, MMJ
And now a story about our community from two summers ago. Good Stuff.

No Gas, No Hot Water, No Stove
A Re-Cap and an Update
A couple of weeks ago a local resident left a message for me. It took several days before we connected by phone. She is 77 years old, widowed and lives in her own home. Raised on a cotton farm in northern Louisiana, her family moved to Covington when she was a child. She picked cotton on Oak Grove Plantation at the age of five. Once here, she picked tung oil nuts in St. Tammany, strawberries in Ponchatoula and bell pepper in Tangipahoa.

In 1972, she was the first woman to begin working on the rigs offshore. For years she worked in the kitchen at Nathan's Bar (Mattina Bella today), cleaned houses, babysat and was the cashier for Schoultz's Store. "Two things I hate to do around my house ... dust and iron. I hope I never have to ever dust or iron again."

Her two brothers worked at the 7Up plant on Claiborne Hill. "Coon" later went on to work at Talley's Feed and Seed for a number of years.

As a young adult, she saw Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and BB King at the Club 30, the Band Box and / or the Funky Londoner on W. 30th Ave. (owned by the Route family who still operate a sweet shop on 30th Ave : ).

She and her husband frequented Sonny's Dew Drop Inn on the corner of W. 29th Ave. and Jackson Street ... known at that time as "The Corner" with one bar on each of three corners: The Pink Palace, Sonny's Dew Drop Inn and Joe's Rock Palace. It was a fairly rough clientele. All the vices were available.

She called me because the main gas line to her home had a leak. Also, the connection under the house to the stove was faulty. Hence, her gas had been disconnected since last week. For someone living without a stove or hot water, she was in remarkably good spirits. Her nephews and nieces bring her fast food (she's diabetic : (.

I wrote,
"If you know of a plumber that might consider doing the work for less (or maybe 2 or 3 plumbers who might team up), reply to me at this e-mail.

If you can help defer the cost with a donation, that would be wonderful.
Reply to me at this e-mail. 

This one is going to take a lot. 
This is a tough one."
The Community Responded ...
and how they responded!!
Monetary donations began flowing in: Venmo, PayPal, cash and checks. All told, over $6,000 has been collected for Miss Willa Jean, a person no one knew. Simply, a fellow citizen in need.

We, as a community, should be proud. We as a community, should be grateful.

Scott and Allison Harrison of Goodbee Plumbing felt the calling. They have donated 100% of their time, their skill and their materials to make this happen (insert lump in throat here).
Matt waits on a fitting to be threaded before another trip under the house.
Donevin threads galvanized pipe for the new gas main.
No, it is not the Wizard of Oz. There are no munchkins. During the hottest Louisiana July on record,
a man toils beneath the home, working in a 12 - 15" tall space.
The man is Scott Harrison, owner of Goodbee Plumbing. Pictured to the left, he and I meet for the very first time - whothehellistakingmypicture?

Not knowing me, and not knowing the resident, he and his crew completed the new gas main. Hot water for Willa Jean!

But the stove was a no-go. Purchased about 50 years ago at a garage sale for $25.00, Scott advised against re-connecting it.

Three days later, a new stove was delivered. Scott and crew returned for the installation ... and a very grateful Willa Jean : )
In my visits with Miss Willa Jean she shares her loneliness. She is a delightful person, totally positive and upbeat. If you'd like to pass by one day and visit, reply to this e-mail. However, please know when you visit,
she will not turn off the western channel nor turn down the volume ; ).
Three Challenges Remain
Three Challenges Remain:

1) Scott was not comfortable reconnecting the furnace. We now need an A/C Heating person to inspect (and repair if necessary).

2) We currently have collected over $6,000 from 30 different donors. Gifts range from $10 to $1,000. Our current expenses are $769.57 (the stove - with extra 5 year warranty). All unused donations will be refunded to the donors. My challenge: Which monies to use, which to refund? I'll figure it out.

To date, I have not deposited anyone's check. Hopefully, for the ease of paperwork, the refunds will be as simple as voiding checks. I spent most of a day writing thank you notes and returning over $5,000 in donations!

3) To complicate matters, we need to hold onto some dollars in case a new furnace is warranted. Please be patient as we finish this wonderful journey. It was not needed.

Oh, My. What a wonderful community in which we live.
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Rooted in History, Focused on the Future