I feel like I'm in a slow motion movie at times. Like I achieved a state of nirvana and it's now gotten to the point where I really don't care how long it takes Allstate to pay our insurance claim. We used to call them everyday to ask for updates. That lasted about four months. Then we called weekly. That lasted another two months. We filed this very official "Proof of Loss" form at the end of December, and while that got them to return our phone calls for a week, still nothing really has happened. We've now had six different adjustors and basically it comes down to this, at least according to Allstate: they can't proceed with our claim until they get an Allstate engineer's report to determine if our house is leaning from wind or flood. I was in the house during the hurricane, and it was racked from the wind. It was like being on an old wooden boat, rocking all over the place. But the saltwater really did damage to our brick & mortar piers, so the leaning was made worse by the flood. But I really don't care what the engineer determines. They'll no doubt say that the house is leaning from the flood, because then the insurance money comes from the Federal Government, and Allstate saves about $150,000. It is starting to look more and more like we'll move to another house in New Orleans, one that didn't flood. But of course all of that is on hold until we settle with Allstate. I'm starting to think that maybe they would like to delay this claim until after the next hurricane season, because if our house floods again, they won't have to pay twice. When the family moved back down to New Orleans after Christmas, Therese and I thought we would know our path at the end of March. It's now the end of March and we really don't know anything more about our future than we knew back in December, or even September of 2005 for that matter. When I see Allstate commercials on TV I honestly smile. The whole thing is comically surreal.
But that is just about me and my family. There are more pressing matters that will effect the entire city.
The Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery czar Don Powell just said that it may take 25 years for New Orleans to recover, and that much of this city's rebirth will depend on factors outside of the government's control. I would have to agree with that estimation. As a friend of mine said, ten years from now if a day goes by that we don't think of Katrina, that will be a good day. More alarming, Powell told Louisiana officials that the 3 billion it would cost to bring the area levees to pre-Katrina strength is um, well, it's about 6 billion short. And we have just two months until the start of the 2006 hurricane season. It seems that my neighborhood and 30% of New Orleans will be covered for a category 3 storm with the initial 3 billion, but to protect the remaining 70% it will cost an additional 6 billion. And I heard on the radio that Louisiana is now officially the poorest state in the country. And so we wait, and wait, and wait. And once in a while I try to do something to expedite the process, but it turns out to be a waste of time, and so we wait, and wait, and wait.