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Thursday, December 22, 2005

 

Week 5 of Charlie chillin' in his body bag on the street in Port Sulphur

Port Sulphur, La., is in the middle of Plaquemines Parish. 42 miles South are the remains of Venice. About 40 miles North is the city of Belle Chase. From about Jesuit Bend on down, the Plaquemines were pretty much destroyed. Mind-numbing devastation that still photos can not begin to relate. If you lit off a small-sized air-burst nuke, say 50 kilotons or so, you might see comparable damage.
A part of all that damage unique to this corner of the world is the washing away of cemeteries. Bodies, caskets, crypts; all floating about and washing up in the damnedest places. Some never to be seen again. "Charlie" and the splintered remains of his wooden coffin landed on the grounds of what used to be Plaquemines Medical Center. An Air National Guard Graves Reg. team recovered the remains, bagged him, and left him on the street next to a damaged family graveyard. A Parish Council member was present at that time. That was, by all recollection, about 4 1/2 weeks ago (one novelty of Katrina relief work is the Groundhog Day effect- every day is Monday. If you are billeted in the French Quarter, I'm told, every night is Friday.).
Charlie chillin' in his body bag:
Charlie, chillin'

This past Monday night, the USO sent us an Army band from the LAARNG. They played, excellently, about 45 minutes worth of Christmas music. Then the USO passed out grab-bag gifts for all the troops present. An Air Guard NCO grabbed a small artificial Christmas tree and wreath. After a short delay, he and a couple of soldiers and me trooped over to Charlie and the NCO placed those items by him. One soldier said a simple and heart-felt prayer for Charlie. I showed them the 9 visible graves of veterans buried in the cemetery (background, below). We rendered a solemn salute to all our brethren there, and dispersed for the evening.
Charlie, with Christmas decorations:
Christmas Charlie

UPDATE, 7JAN06:
Charlie has moved on in his eternal journey. Depending upon with whom you speak, a FEMA DMORT team scooped him up on either Wednesday or Thursday in the late afternoon (the Groundhog Day effect, once again). I am certain that I saw him on Thursday morning, but as of Friday he is certainly no longer resident on our street. Keep on truckin', Charlie, and R.I.P., when you get the chance. Really.

Photos copyright 2005. Cross-posted various places.

Comments:
Hey, I didn't realize this is where you posted the pics... And miss you and all that.
 
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All original content on this blog copyright 2005-2012 by bblatt and FASTAC_6; all rights reserved. Original posts are the opinions of the authors only, and do not represent the policies or opinions of any Federal, State, or other private or corporate entity. Comments on posts are unedited, and do not represent the views of the blog authors; they may be deleted at any time by the blog authors