Hurricane Katrina hundreds of thousands of
people were evacuated when flood waters submerged
entire neighborhoods. Lacking utilities and the infrastructure
necessary for the rebuilding process, these neighborhoods continue
to languish, rotting in the damp heat long after the water
subsided. A joint priority for FEMA and the EPA is the recovery
of a city's worth of refrigerators, now derelict vaults
of decay. The process for this recovery requires small teams
to drag the things to the curbside for eventual pick up by
flatbed trucks, most owned and operated by out-of-state contractors.
A landfill designated for this effort will be
populated by such trucks "for a couple of years, continuously,"
said a representative from the EPA. At the landfill the rotten
food is gathered and buried, while the appliances are crushed
and recycled where possible. The odor is indescribable.