NINTH WARD UNDERGROUND MUSICIANS DISCUSS DAMAGE, INSURANCE,
I returned to Alabama to retrieve my wife and view the
damage of our home. It was devastating - the city was horrible,
and I only saw a third of it. My house was salvageable, but my hope
and will to live there was gone.
Scurvics: Luckily, for the part of the Ninth Ward I
lived in, we were on higher ground than just a boulevard away. In
fact, all you have to do is cross St Claude Avenue, which I lived
on the corner of, and the wasteland begins. There are dark, noiseless
miles where it seems like nothing is alive.
Twist: We came back to New Orleans one month after
the hurricane. We walked in the door to find our house largely undamaged.
It was truly unbelievable. We were surprised by each sentimental
object we realized we would get to keep after having mentally accepted
them all as completely lost. But we have also come to realize that
even though our own personal asses were spared, the soul of our
city was wiped out.
O: The question I get from people most often is “was
your house okay?” Before I came home it seemed important,
but the more time I spend in New Orleans, it seems to matter less
and less. Sometimes I think it might even have been easier to lose
everything and be forced to start over. The way things are though,
there is façade of normalcy, that at times has been comforting,
but most times, in comparison to the rest of the city is devastating.
As though we are living inside of one mausoleum in a massive graveyard.
Parker: I lost all of my equipment, and my drummer
moved to Atlanta (for good)… The Music rising foundation is
giving me some new stuff soon, and I'm hopeful to work on stuff,
I'm more inspired than ever... I personally live in my office above
the bar on a air mattress, because FEMA has denied me all moneys
for no reason other than I answered all the questions on my questionnaire
truthfully. Apparently "I don't know what happened to my house,
because you won't let me see it" means "I'm OK, don't
give me anything" in governmentese.
Henry: We spent the next few weeks trying to deal with
getting money from FEMA - which is a hassle. To this date Heather
has received nothing from them. We were getting work but needed
to get back home to check on our things... Goner Records is sending
me some money from their fundraiser and the Grammy awards/Musicares
foundation is buying us a few grand worth of stuff but we're still
Twist: When we realized we weren’t going anywhere
near New Orleans anytime soon, I got on the phone with the insurance
company. I had purchased musical instrument insurance two weeks
before the storm in anticipation of the tour. A friend of mine pestered
me until I did it, and we couldn’t have been luckier in retrospect.
They paid out almost immediately based solely on the extensive citywide
damage and the immediacy of our tour and we scrambled to replace
our sentimentally precious friends/instruments and make 150 new
CD’s by hand (we left behind our previous stock when we evacuated).
read New Orleans Underground musicians discuss the decision not
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