Louisiana, Katrina & the Red Cross, Page 10
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
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Today we are splitting into number of groups. Some are going to the FEMA center in Alexandria to do intake, some are going back to Catahoula Parish to do intake, and we are going to the Marksville FEMA building in Avoyelles Parish. We stopped at a gas station on the way & found great catfish. Every other time I have tried catfish I haven't thought much of it - here it is sold as a snack like chicken wings, etc. Very good!

Our section of the building is an old, empty store with a small room for the cards. Very weak air conditioning, but better than outside. When we arrived there was already a line all the way around the building, about 500 people long. We were planning to start at 10:00, but at 9:50 the cards hadn't arrived from headquarters. Called them & was told they would be here by 10:00 - not much time to set up. Well, they arrived at 10:45, and we started at 10:50. It was very hot outside - I am amazed that everyone, some who waited for over 4 hours before they got into the building, were so nice. Few were angry, even though we didn't have cards for some.

Great Catfish
Our Section of the FEMA Building in Marksville
Inside at Marksville


Overall, we did over 100 cards & filled out a little less than 500 intake forms. We did one card delivery out in the parking lot - a nurse asked if we could take care of a woman who was too weak to go through the line. Also had one person pass out & sent to the hospital. I wish there was some way to avoid the long wait in the heat. We worked as fast as possible with only a 10 minute break for lunch. The guy working with me even went through the entire day without a break for a cigarette! At least there was a crew with an ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) handing out ice water & snacks to those in line. One of the ERV crew sleeps a few bunks down from me - he got a bad case of sunburn today.

Stopped at a Sonic drive in in Alexandria on the way back to Tall Timbers. First time I've been in one. Good onion rings & a chicken wrap. We got back to Tall Timbers around 9:00PM. It would be interesting to get back before dark sometime. I'm used to reading for a couple of hours each night and with lights out at 10:30, I haven't been able to get even close.