I love the sound of the wind sighing through the pine trees. It provides the perfect backdrop for some leisurely reading on vacation.
Unfortunately the pines in today's story aren't the evergreens I enjoy, but The Pines Motel & Lounge. Anyone who watches the Deuce knows, by now, way more than they ever wanted to know about this dive on Airline Highway. It has been the focus for many evacuee stories, as it is the locus of many, ranging from honest victims to relocated crack dealers.
The Ritz it isn't. I've heard suggestions that before it became a haven for hurricane helpless, it's rooms were used by the business people of that area to close deals, whether on their backs or otherwise. It's only gone downhill since.
Last week check-out time came for the Katrina evacuees who hadn't gotten an extension on their stay. This would be for those who are legitimately trying to get back on their feet, instead of lounging around all day in their room or the parking lot. The manager has a list in his hands with 17 names that haven't checked in with their new numbers. Thinking he might be able to start renovations soon, he knocks on each door. With each successive knock, he gets the same answer, and less optimistic about the future of his motel. They already got their number, or they're on the phone trying to get one.
I've got no problem lending a hand to the victims having to start over with nothing. All I ask is that they do something to help themselves. These people knew when they got their last number that they only had a couple of weeks, but they waited until they were about to get kicked into the street to make a phone call. These few bad apples are giving the other victims a bad reputation. Now hiring signs are posted on nearly every street corner in town, yet some people say they don't have transportation to get to work. How about the two feet God gave them?
Again, I'm not making these statements about all the victims of this tragedy. I'm only talking about the people I see at this one location, sleeping in their rooms all day, and drinking in the parking lot all night. These are the people I'm tired of supporting.