Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I guess I should have a real final update, but the pictures say it best for me. I'm thrilled to be home. Hurricane Katrina was a tough storm to handle. We had lots of people very happy to see us, and others downright angry. It's part of the job and something we deal with even on normal claims, but the magnitude of the damage and the sheer numbers of people without coverage made this a unique CAT. Our company learned something this past year. They went out of their way to make the adjusters feel appreciated. Cookouts, massage therapy, doctors, getting us the equipment we need - A1 work done by Nationwide (there, I'll say it). We were out quicker and did a better job than the other carriers did. I say that from hearing it from the folks down there. More than once, we helped out State Farm customers because they didn't know what to do and hadn't heard from their insurer.

I want to thank all the people who made my little blog a normal stop during the day. I appreciate the kind words I've received. As I posted before, this site will return to the normal photos of funny things I find, and mostly photos of my family. Feel free to keep on stopping by. If you happen to have some interesting photos, send them to me with a caption, and if I like them, I'll go ahead and put them up.

CAT Duty - Final Update

Ahh. Perfect.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #39

This is probably my last photo post from Mississippi. It's been an experience to say the least. There's still a ton of hard work to be done, and it's going to be years before normal returns. I've made some good friends here (and I'll probably be stuck with them in a hotel again next year!). Final CAT update tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #38

Long Beach, MS was really hit hard by the hurricane. It looks like most of the city south of the railroad tracks will be razed by the local government. I ran across several homes that had 'do not bulldoze' spray painted on them. People here want to rebuild, but many of the homes will never be able to be lived in again.

Good Morning, Rita!

She's a fiesty gal from the looks of it. I've got a second here while I'm eating lunch and wanted to give you an idea of how far reaching this new hurricane is. We have a wind advisory and flood and tornado watches posted. The power and cable (gasp!) have been going out at the hotel. It's too nasty to be on a roof right now, so I'll finish doing paperwork until it clears up.
Update: Let's add tornado warnings to the mix!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #37

Some more photos. My last day here is Sunday and then I get to head to home see the family. I have a few more days worth of photos to post. I'll probably write up a post mortem during my drive back to Michigan.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #36

Jefferson Davis' home and now museum, Beauvoir, was heavily damaged in the storm. It sits on I-90 a few hundred feet from the gulf. I admit, I do not know very much about the place, but I understand that some of the relics were able to be saved.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #35

Most of my photos have been of antebellum mansions or casinos on the coast, but some of the hardest hit places were among the lower income areas of Biloxi. These photos were taken on the east end of Biloxi where the storm surge hit from two directions.

Upper left: Yes, that house is in the street.
Upper right: At least two houses washed up against each other.
Lower left: Debris and some unhealthy muck.
Lower right: Another house with a fatality. If you look closely you can see how far back it's pushed from its porch. Upon further review, I don't think that house is on it's own foundation. The porch is from a house with at least a brick facade. Looks the the brick house washed away.

Yesterday I posted about the number of deaths that were caused by the storm. We spoke with some local officials and the number is going to go up. The number listed (around 200) are only the bodies that have been identified. Anecdotally, I have been in a bunch of these neighborhoods and I'm positive the number is going to go much higher. The upsetting thing about these four photos is that each one shows a house where someone decided to stay, for whatever reason, and ended up dying in the storm.

Monday, September 19, 2005


CAT Duty - Update #34

These were all taken right along I-90 on the coast. The upper right photo shows a house where the occupant did not evacuate and died in the storm. There are still around 600 missing persons in Mississippi with some 200 confirmed dead. It's quite possible the death toll here will be higher than New Orleans.

CAT duty fun fact: I've been in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virgina since last year's hurricanes.

Well, here are two of the biggest reasons I cannot wait to get home. The other reason isn't pictured, but I miss her dearly also.

CAT Duty - Update #33

Many boats that tried to seek shelter in inland rivers, lakes, and bayous suffered the same fate as these two did. The unprecendented storm surge and flooding either sunk boats or pushed them onto to normally high and dry land.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #32

Some shots for tonight. I leave for home one week from today. It's been an experience down here, but I'm ready to see my family again.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Tale of Two Cats

I found a photo from cat duty during the hurricanes in Florida last year. Let's compare. The photo on the left taken from my hotel room at the Four Seasons resort on Singer Island. The photo on the right taken in Mississippi...

I've got a minute during lunch so I thought I post a couple more shots taken from the coast yesterday evening. The shot on the right was taken with the gulf to my back. I'm shooting in the direction of the cottages where some of our people are staying. It's amazing that with all this destruction, some spots so close to the water were not severly damaged. I thing the large apartment probably saved the cottages from being destroyed.

CAT Duty - Update #31

Two quick shots before we head out today. Both were taken on the way to my meeting last night. More of the damage on I-90 right along the gulf coast.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Well, it appears blogger pictures are down. It's a shame because I was able to take some great shots this evening on my way to our meeting. I'm gonna head off to bed then and hopefully blogger will be working again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #30

Here's a boat in a new subdivision. It made it there before any of the houses did. How big is that boat? Corey is standing next to it in the picture on the right to give you some perspective. It's about a 1/2 mile from a bayou and probably 50 feet above the current level of the water.

Whoa. I guess CNN found the site interesting enough that Wolf Blitzer included it on his show around 5pm today. I didn't get to see it. Others did because I received a load of calls when it was airing. I freaked out and called our media relations department right away and let them know what happened. They told me everything was okay and there didn't appear to be any issues with the site. Anyway, I went through and checked and don't see my company name listed anywhere. I'm flattered CNN thought enough of Lapeer Living to put it in their broadcast. I do wish they would have contacted me first, but I guess this is here for anyone to enjoy.

If you peruse the site you'll see that most of the content is my making fun of myself, or posting pictures of my beautiful family. Once I return home, the site will also return to that normal modus operandi.

For the record, this is my personal site. All photos, opinions, and posts are mine and do not reflect the policies, opinions, or positions of my company.

Well, I'm going back to work for a bit. Then I'm going to have a beer and see how grey my hair has turned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

CAT Duty - Update #29

We met with some Virginia guardsmen today in Gulfport. I had a chance to stop and speak with them for a bit. They're here to help and they're serious about locking down the neighborhoods to keep the residents safe. On the left is Sgt. Steve Tomlinson along with Spc. Dan Magan, Alpha Company, 2/116th, 29th Infantry Division. These guys, along with their brethren have been working long hours in the wake of the hurricane assisting with security and the general relief effort.

Left: A photo of Sgt. Tomlinson and me.
Right: Serious about security. Armed guardsmen and barbwire fencing restrict access south of the train tracks in some of the worst hit areas in Gulfport and Long Beach.