soon and very soon

Friday, September 02, 2005

The following is an email to my dad from family friend and Catholic priest Fr. Tom Hoffman, who lives and works in New Orleans:

I waited until the last minute and then went down to the Hilton downtown for protection. I was supposed to say mass for those in the Hilton that day (Sunday) but it never came off. We were all right the first night, then the storm came. Lost power and were on generators; then the generators went out. Lots of wind, but the building was safe - nothing compared to the hyatt as shown on TV. On Tuesday morning I asked a police officer if there was any way I could get out of the city. He gave me directions (west) and I drove to Dallas to meet up with some of my parishoners. Am staying in a hotel downtown which has free internet connection (I grabbed my laptop at the last minute before leaving my rectory at the University). Tuesday night I finally got hooked up and tried to email as many as possible. On the drive from N.O. to Dallas I listened to WWL radio (870) which gave lots of info as to what was going on without the hype for the networks. Am safe and sound. Tonight I finally saw some satellite images of my building and it looks like I lost half of the roof, but it's hard to tell. I don't know how long I will be stranded and how long the $$$ will hold out. New Orleans is a mess with looting, etc. Power will not be restored for at least a month due to the power transmitters being totally wiped out (they can rewire everything in the city, but there's no way of transmitting the power). At the moment I'm in Dallas at a hotel with friends. I don't know how long I will be here. It's been a horrible experience for N.O. and it will take some time to rebuild. The problems that are occuring at the moment in the city are incredible due to the selfishness of some people. Once the National Guard gets in, perhaps tomorrow, some kind of order should be restored. The rebuilding will take a while. I don't know what else to say. Anyone who wants to help me for the future, $$$ will be the best - just collect it and hold it if you can until I get a better picture on the future. the whole thing is beginning to hit me hard, yet I feel very fortunate compared to so many people who have lost everything. When all is said and done, I still believe that God will only allow us to handle what we are able to handle. We'll survive. At this point in time, I wish I were in california for a while. Hope all is well. Thank you so much for writing. At the moment i have email capabilities. Pray for us, especially those with nothing left. God bless, Tom,sj

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