Fading scars

Ninth Ward, NOLA 2010

First responders splinter locked front doors with sledge hammers while searching for survivors, but find more victims instead. Wooden jambs swollen from filthy flood waters keep out rescuers more efficiently than steel bolts dissuade looters.

Going house to house, the quiet is ominous. Where sounds of laughing children and barking dogs were once block music, silence now a stark reminder of the loss of life.

Vandals band into packs, defiling already ruined memories, leaving messages of contempt where comfort is needed, necessary.

Devastation, caused by demon storms bearing names as easily given to nurturing mothers and fathers, lingers even after the debris is removed from sight. Fading to shiny silver traces, scars never completely heal.

Three months remain in the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

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  • Hurricane Andrew (1992) Homestead FL: 26 deaths; $26.5 billion damages
  • Hurricane Opal (1995) Destin FL: 59 deaths; $3 billion damages
  • Hurricane Ivan (2004) Gulf Shores, AL: 92 deaths; $14.2 billion damages
  • Hurricane Katrina (2005) New Orleans, LA: 1,200 deaths; $75 billion damages
  • Hurricane Irene (2011) New York City, NY: 56 deaths;  $15.6 billion damages
  • Hurricane Sandy (2012) Mantoloking, NJ: 191 deaths; $50 billion damages

*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Trifecta challenge this week is: Band [ verb \ˈband\] 3: to gather together : unite
This week’s Studio30 Plus prompt is “Splinter,” and/or “Ominous.”

*Photo venue: New Orleans, Ninth Ward; 2010, five years after Hurricane Katrina. The graffiti on this house is not vandalism. It is X-code messages used by search-and-rescue teams.

Author: Tara R.

I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

36 thoughts

  1. I was in New Orleans a few months ago and was surprised how many houses still had the X code on them. Each new storm forming out in the ocean could be another devastating hurricane, I can’t imagine have months of that fear looming all the time. My best friend is from New Orleans and just moved back there.

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    1. The storm season is six months long, and not gonna lie, come June 1 I get a little stressed about it. Fortunately, the area where I live has been spared a direct hit for several years.

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    1. It’s difficult to realistically portray what it’s like during and after a major hurricane. The stories that you hear on the news are not nearly graphic enough. Thank you for your kind comment.

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  2. Thanks for the reminder of what these storms can do. I’ve been through a few hurricanes but never experienced any serious damage or harm. You’ve written a piece that launches a swift punch to the gut. Well done.

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    1. Every season I bookmark the NOAA hurricane center website just so I can keep track of storms as they form. It’s an odd experience to ride out a big storm.

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  3. You’ve captured the human impact of the devastation. Here in the northeast we are spared, often. But Irene and Sandy reminded us how vulnerable we all can be. Well done.

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    1. Irene and Sandy were such freak storms. Here in the south we expect them, prepare for them every season. I can’t imagine what residents in northern states thought when those hurricanes made landfall. It had to feel like the end of the world.

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  4. Fading to shiny silver traces – scars of all kinds. I’m more accustomed to nor’easters, and the last hurricane I “survived” was Bob in ’91, but it all stays with me.
    I followed Sandy online here in mild Barcelona to the point where my heart was racing and I was telling myself that No, I did not need to stop on my way home from work to get candles and water. lol
    That last line was killer, Tara.

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    1. Thank you so much. I’ve heard that those nor’easters can be as destructive as any hurricane. At least with hurricanes, we know when and, to some degree of accuracy, where they are going to hit.

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  5. You did a great job capturing the devastation of a storm. I love the line “…bearing names of nurturing mothers and fathers.” Mother Nature is supposed to keep us safe and protected or so we think. Great story.

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  6. oh, Tara! I do not miss the tornadoes of Ohio . . . will take a lil temblor any day. My heart just goes out to folks who live through this season after season. Well done!

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    1. The only good thing about hurricanes, is that you really have a lot of time to prepare. It’s not sudden like a tornado or earthquake, you have many days warning. The problem is when people don’t heed those warnings.

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