Tuesday, September 27, 2005

At the Cajundome

I spent a good part of the day at the Cajundome today, where I had gone to work with a friend who was writing the story of the Cajundome's involvement in the rescue and recovery from Katrina and Rita. But I ended up helping with registering volunteers. Today was mostly spent in preparation for tomorrow when as many as 4000 evacuees are expected arrive. It's a gargantuan task, both in numbers and in size of the site. To walk from the Cajundome to the Convention Center, where a number of evacuees are already housed, and back takes about ten minutes, negotiating unfamiliar passageways and police checkpoints. That is, if you don't get interrupted by someone, volunteer, resident, or security who needs to ask you a question (and of course, I knew nothing.) And some of the volunteers needed to continuously shuttle back and forth; to get simple jobs done often requires that and more. (I imagine it was worse at the much bigger Astrodome or the Superdome.) Remarkably, everyone I saw had a great sense of humor and a great attitude. Apparently, a number of smaller bureaucratic units had formed in various parts of the complex, and there was some vying for resources. It seemed to be impossible to leave the building since so much seemed to need doing, and there was no way of knowing where your co-workers would be when you came back. Though I was sure I was doing some good, I spent the afternoon buried in the bowels of the Cajundome without seeing many evacuees. Because the main arena was empty and because I was working with someone with the Cajundome, I was permitted to take a few pictures, though not of the refugees. I'll try to put some of them up later. It's impossible to spend any time there without hoping or praying that things will turn out right for all those people.

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