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eitee% oar ae9lciaa v aeat &ea cta thzegoa BM WEST MARY moxie and the compound austin-tatious stuff for the whole freakin’ family! 44 I -M OXY cafe caffei ne came get wired! =3.4 indie designers from all over the world 44 I -6699 a bouquet of a different color 9 1 6-G ROW —-oh we’re out there. ——— Port Arthur, continued from page 12 pet, and even the sheetrock had been ripped out and either piled into the living rooms or thrown away, rendering the units unlivable, according to residents and Scott Moore, a worker with First Class Restoration. In the process, some of the renters’ personal items and furniture had been thrown away at the company’s discretion. Discarded mattresses, couches, clothes, and other items were still haphazardly piled in alleys behind the apartment buildings. Most troubling to the displaced renters, however, was that many of their valuables were missing, including cash, watches, and jewelry. After renters evacuated, out-of-town construction workers were housed in the apartments. Because the interior walls had been knocked out, the workers could move from room to room. Asked how valuables might have disappeared from the apartments, Moore responded: “Ain’t no telling.” Moore characterized the number of workers staying in the apartments as “one or two,” although at least one resident says there may have been as many as 20. An assistant manager of the complex acknowledged that some residents had complained to her of missing or stolen belongings but said that she doesn’t believe the company’s employees were responsible. The apartment complex was not the only residence to sustain looting and other damage. Across town, in central Port Arthur, residents of a broken-down neighborhood tell of the difficulties, in the absence of outside help, of restoring even the most basic living necessities after the storm. Ladana Pressly, a large, gregarious woman, who is several months pregnant, pointed out the damage her home suffered: missing windows, broken doors, a leaky roof, downed trees in the yard, a power line that droops to the ground in her side yard, and signs of water damage inside the house. When Pressly returned to her home after evacuating, she also discovered that it had been looted. Someone had taken her hot water heater, air conditioner, and washer and dryer. The home of her neighbor, Herman Jones, is without a door, electricity, heating, or running water. Recently, Pressly and Jones said, a FEMA inspector assessed their homes and declared both of them “livable,” meaning that they are unlikely to be eligible for further assistance from FEMA. “They say [our home] is livable but we’ve got kids and we can’t even take a shower,” said Pressly, adding that she does credit FEMA for quickly getting her the standard $2,000 in temporary assistance. \(This was a common refrain even among Port Arthurians critical of some aspects Mansell, a FEMA spokesman, said that a “livable” house by the agency’s standards is one that is “safe, sanitary, and secure” with “essentials like running water, electricity, a furnace, and a lockable front door.” Meanwhile, Pressly is letting her neighbors and friends, including Jones, who are even worse off, stay at her house on cold nights. To further the sense of abandonment in Port Arthur, FEMA has already left town. While nearby Beaumont and Orange still have FEMA disaster recovery centers where citizens can meet with FEMA personnel and file claims for assistance, Port Arthur’s center has been closed since October 28. Mansell said the closures were due to decreased demand as measured by foot traffic, but added that “there was some concern [the centers] may have closed too soon.”. 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 16, 2005