Thursday, November 30, 2006

Are We Open for Business--a Potpourri of Answers

First the great news that Greg Peters, Suspect Device, is progressing well. The best news of the day.

A couple weeks ago, someone spammed several NOLA blogs anonymously asking "Are you open for business or not?" I was annoyed, started to respond to Anonymous, but decided not to as it appeared that this person was clearly baiting several blogs.

The question is now being discussed over at ThinkNOLA in the comments section of a post on Microsoft's blatant use of Katrina recovery as a marketing tool. It's interesting because with the republishing of all the emails from last year over at Katrina Refrigerator, I've been re-reading them and in one I talked a bit about how difficult it was to respond to the question "how are things down there?" That was a year ago. It's still difficult. Last year we felt we were doing a great disservice to New Orleans by answering, "It's okay" to that question, but we also were not always in the mood to go off on a rant about the problems. Here we are a year later, and the same issues remain in terms of how to respond to that question.

Let's start with SOME things are better.

Some people are coming back. Houses are being gutted and repaired. Some of the pre-Katrina Christmas events will be taking place this year, making some things seem normal. Some schools are up and running (although a recent report said that Katrina was the biggest educational upheaval in history with so many children losing from 7 weeks to one year of schooling). Some people have street lights in a relatively consistent way on their streets. I can hear the calliope on the Natchez most weekends now, and that's nice. The Saints are back and doing well, the talk of the town. Some hospitals are open. There are some, but not enough, beds for mental health patients. Some stores that said they wouldn't come back, have. Some grocery stores are open but many neighborhood ones are not. Some of the musicians are coming home. Some of the artists have returned to Jackson Square.

Some Friday and Saturday nights in the Quarter look more like pre-Katrina than they did last year at this time when the streets were full of mostly military vehicles and contractors. Some of our restaurants have re-opened.

::::::::Anonymous hollers, WAIT! You make it sound like no one should come down there! What the hell do you MEAN, "some" of the restaurants are open. You should be telling people that everything's great! Come down, spend your money, enjoy New Orleans!::::::::::::

Well, Anonymous, I do, in fact, say that regularly to people I talk with. There is plenty to do and plenty to spend your money on here---yes, right now----tons of entertainment from theatre to sports and everything in between. Please, conventioneers, tourists, please come to New Orleans, and have a wonderful time. It absolutely can be done with very little effort. That part is easy. Hey, the QE2 is coming to town. Things are looking up! But please don't expect me to gloss over the problems that remain.

What's not easy, for us living here to deal with or for those not here to understand, is how much is still NOT open for business. I hope that some of those tourists and conventioneers will notice how many empty storefronts there are in the Quarter alone. Maybe they'll even wonder why. I hope they venture out into the neighborhoods and see how much has not been done, how much of this city is absolutely NOT open for business--or living for that matter. I hope they talk to some of the people in the neighborhoods who are working tirelessly to form neighborhood associations and to monitor local politicians' "plans" for their neighborhood. These people, many of whom are still in FEMA trailers (a little less than 500 sq ft I understand), are the real pioneers, the ones who remember civics class.

Would Anonymous prefer that we all tell people a sweetness and light story of one year after Katrina? It's really too bad that it can't be tied up like a one hour TV show, with no loose ends and a happy ending.

The problem with doing that, the sweetness and light approach I mean, is that we do ourselves a disservice. As we here already know, many many people across the country think everything is peachy here now. I mean, hey, look at all that money that's been coming from the Feds (not), look at all the various fundraisers they've given to to help us (we appreciate it very very much). In a many corners of this country, folks think that we're all rolling in folding green (that most of us here didn't deserve to begin with in their estimation, and the truth is that I know very few who got anything at all) and they see us in the Superdome painted and cheering, so things have to be okay now. I mean, we HAVE football, what else could we need? Besides, President Bush said "as much as it takes for as long as it takes." Unfortunately it's turned out to be kinda like the No Child Left Behind edict he issued---great soundbite, no funding, and still--not to harp on this or anything but----NO LEVEES that can keep this from happening again.

If we don't keep talking about it, people will forget it. Besides, how can bodies floating in the streets of an American city keep the attention of a country that's more concerned with Britney text messaging Kevin to notify him of their impending divorce and whether or not they should go to Zales to make sure their significant other has a diamond bigger than the neighbor's holly berries for Christmas? Some American's attention spans are short and overall they prefer to not go too deeply into something that's disturbing.

I don't understand why people across this country aren't appalled at what's happened here. Why they don't notice how much we're spending to fight a war across the world for some vaguely messianic crusade to spread freedom and democracy to people who may or may not want it, but they kvetch about money for the Gulf Coast. I don't get it. Oh wait, I forgot, TomKat's wedding just happened and we really want to know what a Scientology wedding is like. Forgive me.

There are many people who write to me asking what they can do. They do realize there are still problems here, and many are totally disgusted with what they're seeing, or not seeing. They ask how they can help, but most are very leery of gigantic charities or funds. They want to actually hand their money to someone here who needs it.

So, for Anonymous and all those who ask me how they can help, here's a small list of businesses and organizations that can use the help. If you're still not done with your Christmas shopping, and you weren't up at 5AM to head to the mall on Black Friday, or you just want something different that can make a difference, then consider shopping New Orleans. If you're here in NOLA, stay out of Best Buy and Walmart if you can. Shop local. If you're not in NOLA, some of these businesses and organizations can still accomodate you. This is a very short list. Travelling Mermaid has a more extensive one here. (Thanks, TM!) I highly recommend that you take a look at her well compiled list.

Other local entities with websites:

Dirty Coast tshirts are a bargain at $20 bucks each. Great designs, locally owned and operated (these are the guys who made my "Be a New Orleanian Wherever You Are" shirt that some of my visitors have wanted to steal!) I asked a few weeks ago for a link ad for this blog, but they must be (hopefully) swamped. They offer gift cards so you can buy a shirt for someone and let them pick their own from an extensive collection.

EDIT: I found the code so that cool add flashing over on the right hand side is the Dirty Coast link. Just click it and it will take you right there. Their link is also on the Katrina Refrigerator site.

Two groups who really needs some help as their membership has dropped by more than half are Save Our Cemeteries and Friends of the Cabildo. Save Our Cemeteries does some great projects and has a fun little shop on its website under the tab "merchandise." Looking to weird out your boss? How about a replica of Marie Laveau's tomb? SOC has that and more. Friends of the Cabildo helps to keep several of our best museums up and running, including the Cabildo, Presbytere, 1850 House and Madame John's Legacy (which still hasn't opened.) They lost so much of their membership that they had to lay off most of their staff. If you get a membership or just donate some money to them, you'd be helping a lot. Besides, the membership will give you free entry into those museums when you come down for a visit.

Music of interest to you? Maybe instead of Amazon, you could buy a CD for that friend from The Louisiana Music Factory. Great regional music and a store that we have to keep in business. Tower Records, now a casualty of a corporate merger, will be gone, but Louisiana Music Factory is a gem that we can't afford to lose.

Don't want a CD? Okay, how about helping out a real life musician? So many of them lost instruments, or have no place to live. Both Tipitina's and WWOZ Radio have been doing "direct into the hands of musicians" help. And I know some of you are listening to OZ on your computers wherever you are right now. Help them out in someone else's name if you have a friend who already has way too many reed vases in their house, or give it as a gift to yourself.

And finally, on the website list, is WRBH Radio. Go to their site and you'll see a link for, which will allow you to buy anything from soup to nuts with a portion of the proceeds going to help keep WRBH in business. Not one of the big stations, it is an important station. WRBH is "reading radio for the Blind and Print Handicapped." They read news stories from various sources in their entirety, as well as fiction, non-fiction, kid's books 24/7 for those who are unable to read themselves. A very worthy station.

If you're local and want to avoid big box stores, below are some of my favorites. Granted they are near my house, but they are also of interest to all those tourists and conventioneers we want to attract, so come on down from the Irish Channel or Uptown or Lakeview, wherever you are. I know parking is a mess, but it'll be fun and the residents have already started putting garland on the balconies and galleries.

If you need something different, really different, head for Yesteryear's at 626 Bourbon. Okay, you're saying, you can't seriously be sending me to a Bourbon Street shop. Oh, but I am. While Yesteryear's does have tshirts (of exclusive designs, absolutely NOT the "I puked on Bourbon Street" variety), it also carries some of the most exquisite porcelain dolls you've ever seen, in many sizes and price ranges. This place can turn you into a doll collector even if you're not one now. And you can completely avoid the big jewelry shops as Yesteryear's has some very unique and beautiful gemstone pieces, again in a wide variety of prices and styles. The clothing carried in this shop is fun, affordable and here's the big one, wearable. This store has been in business for more than 26 years, acting as a counterpoint to the schlock commonly found on Bourbon Street. Let's keep her in business now.

Need computer stuff? Some peripheral for a PC or a Mac? Head for French Quarter Computer Services at 824 Chartres. This guy has been going without his meds to keep the business open. He is the only computer store in the Quarter, and for those of us in the area who might not necessarily want to go Uptown for that new mouse when this one craps out, he's a life saver.

Books? New or used there are plenty of places to support. My personal favorites:

Arcadian Books, 714 St. Peter, right down from the Cigar Store Indian (oh yeah, and if you are looking for cigars, go check out that Indian. You'll find Armando in there will be happy to help!)

Faulkner House Books, 624 Pirates Alley, great selection of regional, trade and used books.

Librairie Book Shop, 823 Chartres (yup, right across the street from the Computer store!). The guy there knows just about every book in the store, and like the owner of Arcadiana, if he doesn't know for sure that it's there among the stacks, he sure knows where to look.

So, Anonymous, if you live here, I hope that you'll keep these places "open for business," and if you don't, then please buy a plane ticket, come down and carol with us at Jackson Square, and drop by some of the above-mentioned establishments. Maybe talk to the proprietor's about how they're managing with only half the locals back in town and a much smaller tourist pool. You might get a better idea of what's really happening here, and better yet, you'll be able to DO something by handing your dollars to someone here, right into their hands.

And please don't spam the comments sections of blogs anymore, or if you absolutely must, then at least be brave enough to sign your name.

Any locals who want to add to this list of local businesses in the comments section, please feel free to do so!
EDIT: Thanks to rcs (although thanks isn't the right word) for this: "Unfortunately, according to this post ( forums) FQ Computers is closing down for good today. Shame."

You can find the link in rcs' comment. FQ Computers will be closing. Another one lost.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Well, I see I've been a little remiss.

I was still sending out emails this time last year. I didn't put the link for the Halloween one at Katrina Refrigerator, so here it is. It was actually a fun one about the Rebirth Brass Band playing in front of the Cabildo last year. It was lovely to re-read that one.

The Katrina Refrigerator Thanksgiving post is here.

In re-reading the last three K Fridge posts, I can see how truly wild a ride it was. The post before the Halloween post was about Blackwater, those scary guys who we still see around, the next one about the day before Halloween was a night I'll always remember. It was joyful and surreal at the same time.

The Thanksgiving post from last year is a testament to the generousity of people. I also wrote a paragraph asking that people not forget us here. That they continue to write their representatives. That still stands today.

Halloween this year was very different and I keep meaning to write about it here. I will get to it. But the issues with keeping the problems, the LEVEES, in everyone's face continues to be a reality. I've written about the insurance issues and other issues, but the main one is and will remain the LEVEES. If we don't get the levees fixed and armored as they should be, we could see a replay of the devastation we experienced last year.

Want to see what we're talking about (:::::::endlessly, you say as you roll your eyes!:::::::::) look this post over at Ashley's. Last year about this time, a friend had sent me a "Picture of the Day" email, and this was the picture of the day. I stupidly didn't save it. I was so delighted that Ashley had it and posted it.

Copy it, save it, send it out, forward it. Send it to your representatives, send it to the White House.

The President traditionally saves a turkey's life in a photo op around this time of year. I hope he remembers to save the life of a beautiful pearl of a city. He can do that. I hope he will.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Got Tickets? Parking tickets, that is. . . .

GBitch wrote a great piece on the horrible priorities in City Government right now and I agree with her wholeheartedly. That having been said, for any of you out there who might have some of the inglorious red/orange parking ticket envelopes taking over your glove compartment, racking up fines, this is for you.

From November 15 to November 30, the City of New Orleans has declared Parking Ticket Amnesty. You can pay the original face value of the ticket, all fines (you know, for that one that's been in your car for over a year?) will be wiped off the slate. In our case here, for four tickets, the cost of paying them two weeks ago was $340.00. Today, $85.00 (three $20 buck over meter and one $25 buck wrong place wrong time tickets.)

To pay your tickets at their face value go to the City of New Orleans website, look on the left side, click "Pay Tickets", put in your plate number, and voila! It will show all the tickets on your account at their original face value.

If you wait, they're talking about stepped up enforcement after 11/30 including putting a boot on cars with too many tickets. You so don't want that.

Just a public service announcement!

As of this morning, it's impossible to get to the website. I suggest maybe trying it in the middle of the night. Gee, must be a lot of us out here trying to pay tickets!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pirates of the Gulf Coast

I have too many posts in my head and not enough time in the day. This one has to be posted though.

Mark Folse, over at WetBank Guide, has been talking about this issue for a while: Insurance companies. Some folks commenting at his blog have mentioned the idea of filing an anti-trust suit against these thieves. Legalized extortion guaranteed to hold up the rebuilding effort here is the best description of what's going on here in the Gulf Coast region, with insurers being the extortionists.

Now, I have no problem with the idea of people making a profit, but I have some major issues with corporations crying poor, cutting off service, then posting record profits. Here in the Gulf Coast area, the insurance companies are the single biggest problem in the Recovery effort for many, many people. I think we should do what California did.

After the 1989 San Francisco earthquake I think it was, major insurance carriers refused to issue homeowners' policies. The California legislature passed a law saying to the carriers, "Okay, then you can't have any auto policies here either. Cover homeowners and their cars, or you don't get to cover anything at all. You'll get ZERO bucks outta our pockets to build your bottom line." It worked.

I can't take credit for the title of this post, it belongs to James Byrne. He wrote this editorial today and says it all.

Greg Peters/Suspect Device Laptop Fund

Yesterday I was catching up on all my local blog reading. The writers around here always unearth something I didn't see. It's like having 200 pairs of eyes keeping track of the Recovery. These bloggers don't always agree, but on this topic, we do agree.

Greg Peters, aka Suspect Device, has helped us laugh through our tears on many occasions. His contributions to the Gambit and his blog are priceless. I had been reading him for a long time before I finally met him at Rising Tide. I expected all gruff and teeth and anger. Instead, I met a soft-spoken, sensitive man who was nothing at all like I expected him to be. He clearly has a heart, for the people and the city of New Orleans.

Now he needs open heart surgery, and he also needs to remain employed while he convalesces. So the wonderful Tech Twins, Maitri Venkat-Ramani and Alan Gutierrez, found a way for all of us to contribute to buy him the MacBook he needs.

He leaves for Cleveland 11/20/2006. We can do this for him. There are 100 of us NOLA bloggers out here yammering on about putting money into people's hands, helping each other out, etc. This time it's one of our own and he needs a Mac laptop so he can continue working and speaking out with and for us. We only need 52 pledges of $25.00 each. Hell, most of our bar tabs are more than that on any given weekend!

Please log in HERE and give what you can. It's time to take care of the gruff and teeth and anger soft spoken sensitive guy (don't tell anyone about that last part!)

And more thanks than words can express to Maitri and Alan for figuring out how we can do this and putting up with my non-geek status!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Explains my dizziness. . . . . all that SPINNIN'!

I have a draft of another post I've been working on, but started getting caught up on my reading and found Ashley Morris's post. I totally stole this from him.

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Too much fun!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Walls, Shelters and Whose Fault Is It Anyway?

I am reposting a piece written March 28, 2006. I have been trying for weeks to write a post about how our perceptions of having a social contract with our government were thrashed along with the storm. It's a topic I've been mulling over literally for months. I've been trying to define exactly what I think the social contract is, what others think it is, and whether it exists at all. For whatever reason I just couldn't put a coherent piece together on this topic.

Then earlier this week I was searching through my email for a particular piece of mail, unrelated to Katrina, New Orleans, or politics, and came across some email sent to me after I originally posted this piece. For whatever reason, and I'm actually still baffled, this piece really upset some folks, viscerally. Go figure.

After locating the mail I was looking for, I started perusing the news as I do every day. I read the stories of the Pineapple Express and the flooding in Washington state. One fatality so far and a huge nightmare for those living there.

Today in a T-P article about the upcoming National Association of Realtors convention here this weekend, the President of the above-mentioned association, Thomas Stevens, said:

The NAR show features dozens of seminars for agents and brokers. Among the biggest highlights of the show is a Saturday afternoon speech by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.

Though NAR hopes its presence helps the city, it also is coming with a national political agenda.

"We're pushing for a national disaster insurance (plan) once we have this (midterm) election behind us. There are a lot more (potential) New Orleans-like disasters out there, more areas prone to disaster than others, and it's a national issue," not just one for the Gulf Coast, Stevens said.

"Disaster can strike anywhere in this country," he said. Therefore, legislation to create a public-private national disaster insurance plan is critical, he said, as is the need to prevent insurance carriers from "bolting" from disaster-struck markets.

This article prompted my thinking about social contracts again (it's really a vicious cycle!) but showed me that there are other people out there who think it exists as well.

All this followed on the heels of my reading the Richman Gentleman's Quarterly hatchet-job article bashing New Orleans, our food, our culture, and claiming that we are stupid to live here, stupid to rebuild here, and we're also evidently all staggering out of bars every morning. (YOU CAN FIND THE LINK TO THE COMPLETE ARTICLE ON ASHLEY MORRIS' BLOG. GQ HAD TAKEN IT DOWN BUT PUT IT UP AGAIN YESTERDAY I GUESS. ASHLEY'S BLOG IS LINKED TO THE RIGHT ON THE BLOGROLL--TIME'S RUNNING OUT BEFORE I HAVE TO RUN ERRANDS, ER, STRIKE THAT, BEFORE I HAVE TO GO FIGURE OUT WHAT BAR TO STAGGER OUT OF TOMORROW MORNING, SO YOU'LL HAVE TO CLICK ON IT YOURSELF!)

So all of those things came together at once prompting me to re-post this piece. Circuitous or synchronous, I'm not sure, but there you are. You've gotten an inside view of how my mind works, oh you lucky you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Structures, structures, rules, and locations. The news lately has been full of stories about these things, which has led to some interesting conversations around here."Why rebuild New Orleans? It's below sea level." My god, we've heard that so many times since Katrina hit us. After we get over the anger we sputter our various personal reasons, emotional reasons and cultural reasons, and then, if we're really on a roll, we start in on the economic reasons. Then depending on how much time and energy we have, we try to rationally explain to whatever idiot just made the statement, that New Orleans, and the entire Gulf Coast region, are important to America, and oh yeah, in case they forgot, we are still a part of America. "And by the way, buster, do ya like your SUV? We don't just have rum down here ya know! You can't run that Escalade on rum."

After our road trip, we got to thinking about the weird logic that causes someone to make a statement like that. If we follow that logic then Americans just about everywhere are going to have to rethink they way they build their houses and where they choose to live. Clearly most of them will have to move.

Texas, on fire. California, Arizona, New Mexico, all prone to wildfires, and given what we saw as we drove, it's a real tinderbox in the Southwest right now. In northwestern Texas last week, a wildfire had killed over 10,000 cattle and the locals were talking to the authorities about where on earth (no pun intended) they were going to dispose of the carcasses. Ten thousand cattle. That's daunting. There were many homes destroyed, many people left homeless. That was just in Texas. Is there a FEMA "wildfire plain" map being developed? "Okay, we're not sure you can rebuild here, but if you do, you'll have to build your house out of asbestos and put a helicopter pad on the roof so you can get out if a wildfire is heading your way. We'll give you $2000 dollars toward the helicopter purchase if you qualify, but you probably won't. Besides you won't be able to prove your losses since all your records were burned up, so you're on your own with this. Also we have no idea how much your homeowners is going to increase. It'll probably double. Before you can rebuild we're going to get the EPA out here to see if the cattle carcasses were within 7 miles of your burned out home as they might be an environmental hazard. Why 7 miles? Ah, we just threw a dart. Don't buy the asbestos quite yet though. We're not sure that this will, in the end, be the official plan.

"Okay, let's move everyone out of those wildfire prone states, immediately. Do NOT let them rebuild their homes there. After all, everyone KNOWS wildfires happen in those areas, so anyone who rebuilds there has to be stupid in the first place."

Springfield, Missouri, devastated by a tornado a few weeks ago. Everyone knows the term Tornado Alley. The warning times are a little better than they were years ago, but not by much. And the darn things just love to hit in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. FEMA's tornado plan would probably require everyone in the Midwest to build their houses underground. "No more above ground structures. You guys in the Midwest are going to have to start building underground cities immediately and at your own expense. Our tornado plain map has shown that the footprint of the Midwest will have to shrink considerably, and no we don't know how you're going to grow corn underground."

"Now we gotta move everyone out of those tornado prone states. Do NOT let the people of Springfield, Missouri rebuild their homes there. After all, everyone KNOWS tornadoes happen in those areas and anyone who rebuilds there has to be stupid in the first place."

The Hayward Fault in the San Francisco Bay area is "locked and loaded" according to an AP article this week. The article continues:

It slices the earth's crust along a 50-mile swath of suburbia east of San Francisco, from exclusive hilltop manors overlooking the bay to Hayward's humble flatlands. It snakes beneath highway bridges, strip malls, nursing facilities and retirement centers, and it splits the uprights of the football stadium at the University of California, Berkeley.

"A lot of these structures are going to come down," said David P. Schwartz, chief of the USGS's Bay Area Earthquake Hazards Project. He spoke with one foot on either side of the fault, marked by a crack that snaked through a parking lot in Hayward's business district.

The anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Quake is coming up in April. Then there was the quake in 1989 that caused a lot of damage and heartbreak. Is FEMA going to require that all homes damaged by an earthquake must be built on rollers like the Transamerica Pyramid?

Nope, what we need to do is move them out, not let them rebuild there. After all, everyone KNOWS earthquakes happen. . . . . . . . . . . . rebuild. . . . . . . . must be stupid anyway.

This year the hurricane predicters are saying that there will probably be 17 named storms and that many of them will probably hit the Atlantic Coast. We better move those people too. Anyone who might possibly be in the storm path will have to relocate.

Where should all these people build their homes. Not in hurricane, wildfire, tornado or earthquake areas. Not below sea level and not in a dangerous fire zone. Hmm, maybe Minnesota? Everyone should move to Minnesota. That's it! Wait, they have some pretty good blizzards there, so does Chicago. When you think about it, so does New York City. Okay, blizzards, known to happen in certain places. Let's not build there.

. . . . . . .stupid anyway.

I'm curious what the "footprint" of the United States would look like if FEMA eliminated home building in any area prone to a natural disaster. Little islands of habitation, like a hopscotch board drawn on the sidewalk in chalk.

Perhaps we should all move to Canada or Mexico, then FEMA wouldn't have the bother of a population, the inconvenience of citizens. But if we choose Mexico, we better hurry up and evacuate there before they build the proposed 300 mile long wall along the border. Berlin in the Southwest. (As soon as it's built maybe we should put a giant puppet of Ronald Reagan up there saying, "Mr. President, tear down this wall!") We can build a wall on our border to keep illegal immigrants out and protect our "national security," but we can't build levees to keep flood waters out and protect this region? Maybe we need to redefine "national security." Many New Orleanians no longer feel very secure in having a place in this nation.

Get out your maps, folks. You better start thinking about where you're going to move if the "why rebuild" idiots start looking at the disaster possibilities in your city or town. Don't get too comfortable. It might just be too expensive or too difficult to rebuild your home or your city if something catastrophic happens there. These people might try to apply their "logic" to your area, and I guarantee you won't like it.

Maybe we should move to Iraq. I hear they're building new schools there. Lots of infrastructure.

One last FEMA story for today. Young man, 22, resident of Chalmette, enlists in the Navy. Gets sent to Iraq as a corpsman. Nice kid. Hated Iraq. Can't wait for his tour to be over. His home was in Chalmette. It's gone. Katrina ate it along with all his uniforms and everything else he owned. FEMA denied his claim because he was "in Iraq, not Chalmette, Louisiana when the storm hit." He wasn't qualified to receive any assistance and had to pay to replace his uniforms out of his own pocket. I've heard a lot of disqualification stories, but that one takes the cake.