Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tommy Coleman's elation didn't last long unfortunately. His sister was found the day after I met him in DMORT. Unfortunately, it took DMORT over three weeks to identify the body to FEMA's satisfaction, despite having DNA samples from family, descriptions, dental records and a positive ID from the family. Coleman said it had caused major infighting in his family. "Everyone's saying the other one isn't doing enough to get the body back." One of his 22 siblings, a brother form Virginia, had lost his job because he's spent so much time down here waiting for the body to be released and the funeral to happen. I met Tommy Coleman Sept 9 at DMORT. As of today, FEMA still hadn't released his sister's body because of several beauracratic hold-ups. "If someone dies on Monday we usually have them buried by Friday," Coleman said. "This is horrible." He also told me about his older sister, the one who watched the now deceased sister, Myra, float away with her house during the storm. He said the older sister jumped out the window with her two grandkids and turned to grab Myra and drag her out because Myra was too afraid to leave the house. He said the storm broke up the house and dragged Myra away and out of her sister's grasp. Neither Myra nor the older sister could swim, and the older sister now found herself in rushing, neck deep water with two grandkids in tow. A couch floated by, and the older sister grabbed it, Tommy said. "She told me she would have died for sure if it weren't for that couch."
This photo by Joshua Norman