NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As we keep an eye on the approaching weather, residents in the affected areas are scrambling to secure their property. FOX 8 went into the recovery zone near Sierra Madre and Chef Menteur Highway to check on progress as heaps of debris continue to build.
Dump trucks, cranes and backhoes are more common nearly a week into tornado clean-up in New Orleans East. Roland Pierre said, "We are trying to clean up the debris around the house to make it kind of livable and make the streets passable." Pierre considers himself and his neighbors fortunate. He said, "We are very lucky that no one lost their life during this tornado." He says clean up and rebuilding are what they do, "Our neighborhood comes back very, very quickly. Katrina didn't move us and this won't either." Pierre refuses to worry about another round of storms. He said, "I take one day at a time. I'm not going to concern myself with what may or may not happen in the future."
On the next street, John O'Rourke has much the same attitude. He said, "We've made a lot of progress." O'Rourke says the difference over the last few days is unbelievable. O'Rourke said, "The city's been responsive. I had a pile of trash over there and they cleaned that all up really rapidly." A lot of these large debris piles are getting picked up quickly, but the problem is there are plenty of small items that end up getting left behind. Those smaller items can become missiles in minor storms. Officials say the best thing is to collect as many of those items as possible in heavy duty garbage bags and secure them as best as possible.
Fortunately there's been an out pouring of helping hands. O'Rourke said, "I tell you what . . . the people. We are getting fed over there and the young people are coming in and helping out. They could be out horseback riding or tennis playing and they are out here and they really enjoy helping people. That blows me away and that's really nice of them." Pierre said, "I can't say enough about the response that we've been getting from the city, from our neighbors, from the community in general. The churches in the area have been very responsive to our needs. They've been getting food, water, cleaning supplies. Just been asked if there was anything else that we need and they would come back." The help to weather the next storm and the storm of rebuilding to come.
The second of three passes for debris pick up will begin tomorrow. Debris should be between the curb and sidewalk away from mailboxes and telephone poles separated into three piles: vegetation, construction debris and white goods such as appliances, electronics and hazardous household chemicals.
The New Orleans Fire Department will deliver tarps at no charge, but you'll need to find help to install them on your own. Lastly, please do not park in front of debris piles.