Sunday, October 29, 2017

Report from the Florida Keys @LucyBurdette


LUCY BURDETTE: Lots of people have asked me how the Florida Keys and Key West are faring after Hurricane Irma roared through. Friday was the first day we were able to see for ourselves. Honestly, it was a bit of a grim ride south, especially the area stretching from Marathon through Big Pine, where the eye blew across the islands. The road is still lined with piles of trash, boats washed ashore, and mind-boggling deposits of appliances and mattresses. I'll show you a little of what we saw...




appliances

mattresses






We saw many trucks loading up the trash and heading north--but it will be a while before things get back to normal. And quite a few people lost their homes in the middle Keys, and are struggling to figure out where and how to find a new home. This of course will have an effect on businesses attempting to open without their full complement of employees. And there is definitely a push and pull between welcoming tourists, which the Keys economy depends on, and allowing the residents to recover from the storm.

Key West, on the other hand, was lucky to avoid Irma's worst wrath. The town lost big trees and vegetation, so it appears lighter and a little more bare than it did. However, this is Fantasy Fest weekend, one of the biggest parties of the year. And the spirit of the Keys is still strong.  These photos from Friday's locals' parade show that Key West residents will not let a hurricane dampen their imagination and playfulness!




I think this is Elvis

Part of a gaggle of "Chers"

Hula-hoop costumes

Who can resist a guy in polka-dots?

Matt and Leigh blast off

The Wizard of Oz gang
And here are just a few shots from the big Saturday night parade--the hurricane theme was very strong...





We're so grateful that the islands and our friends survived...


There's no place like home

35 comments:

  1. So sad to see so much still left to be done, but it does seem as if recovery takes a long time after some of Mother Nature’s fiercest storms . . . glad to know the people are staying strong.

    Love the parade and costume pictures, thanks for sharing . . . .

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  2. This year has been a parade of disasters--the news moves on so quickly to the newest one--you tend to get overwhelmed by it all and then you realize, yes, the people of the Keys are still picking up the pieces of their lives, as are the people in Houston and Napa Valley....the list seems endless. Thanks for the photos--it's clear the Keys survived, there will be changes--but life is resilient--party on!!

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    1. You are so right--a new disaster strikes and our focus moves away. But the folks on the ground have a lot left to deal with. Also thinking of Puerto Rico, Mexico City, Syria--you get the picture!

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  3. Roberta, just wanted to let you know that the photo you captioned "I think this is Elvis" is actually two characters from the sci-fi movie "The Fifth Element". The guy is "Ruby Rhod" and the woman is "Leeloo".

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    1. thanks Jay--we obviously don't know our sci-fi!

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    2. Was gonna comment a day late, thx Jay.

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  4. Great pictures Lucy/Roberta. The resilience of people after a disaster gives me hope. The last time I was in Key West was during the big Christmas, or is it holiday, parade. Haven't had that much fun since the pigs ate up my little brother!

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    1. Since the pigs ate up your little brother, Ann? Come on - do tell!

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    2. I love the Christmas parade too Ann, we usually march in it with our little church group.

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    3. Amanda, it is one of those things people in NW Missouri use to express a extreme of anything. I'm no longer there, haven't been in decades.

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  5. So touching to see this, Lucy/Roberta. And what devastating destruction...but talk about Key West strong— those pix are perfect .
    Will there be a time when you can put it in a book —or can you not imagine ? It’s such a difficult choice. It’s real, but maybe too real .

    And Don’t get me started on the “look a shiny thing” mentality.

    But—back to the parade: Did you dress up in costume??

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    1. funnily enough, there was a hurricane involved in KILLER TAKEOUT. Obviously I had no real idea what the aftermath would look like...not sure I would do it again. though I know a lot more now about how high the emotions run--definitely motives for murder abound!

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    2. Oh, right--SO interesting! And fascinating how your perspective will have changed. xx

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  6. It's so sad to see the hurricane damage but great to see the resilience of the people. Thanks for sharing, Lucy. I was wondering how things were in the Keys, especially after staying in Key Largo this spring for a week.

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  7. What wonderful pictures, Lucy. Here in Nirthern Californis we are in the same recovery mode from the fires. People have been so strong and forward looking and generous here too. But how do you bounce back from nothing?

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    1. I know Rhys--the fires burned so many people's lives down to nothing. How do you begin again?

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  8. Oh wow, Lucy, thanks so much for this post. I have been wondering how the Keys - and you - have fared. The photos certainly speak to the mess remaining and also the spirit that survives. Sending strength...

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  9. Oh, so sad. Thank you for posting the pix.

    I lived on Cudjoe a few years ago, the house we lived in was gutted by the storm, but our neighbors all did well, thankfully. It's always hard to balance the need for tourism dollars and recovery. That was a lesson learned after Georges as well. The Keys will rise again! Hubs and I are planning a trip to Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend and we just discovered that one of our favorite restaurants, Key Colony Inn, re-opened on Tuesday, but another, Sharky's Landing, is being demolished and won't be rebuilding.

    Fantasy Fest looked like a fun time and a great catharsis.

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    1. It was a wonderful distraction. Hope you find lots of your favorite things have survived in Marathon!

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  10. I hope your home was ok, and I am glad to see that Key West is thriving (it's on my bucket list!) -- but how sad for the other keys, and so many other places that have been devastated by storms, fires, and other disasters.

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    1. Hope you make it one day Denise--it's a special place.

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  11. Lucy/Roberta, thanks so much for the report and the photos. I had been wondering a lot about how the Keys were doing, and what you would find when you arrived. I'm glad to see that recovery is underway, and I have no doubt the Keys will bounce back.

    Like Hank, I'm wondering if you will find a way to write about this?

    PS And glad you and John and the critters arrived safely!!!

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    1. thanks Debs--it was a long drive with our elderly guys, though they are intrepid travelers!

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  12. The pictures are great, Lucy. I was in Key West many moons ago on New Year's Eve, but clearly, the spirit of the residents hasn't changed! I hope the rest of the Keys continue their long recovery with similar resiliency.

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  13. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the update.

    We have so many areas of this country that have been hit hard by natural disasters in the last couple of months - Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Northern California. It's truly hard to take it all in.

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    1. It is Mark, and I know your family has been dealing first hand with the fires. Hope they are doing ok!

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  14. Thanks for sharing these pictures. Interestingly I had just finished reading your first book,An Appetite for Murder, and of course I was curious to know if you ever had a hurricane in your books. I'll just have to keep reading to find out. Not a problem at all!

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  15. Scratch a survivor and you will find a Conch -- one of the "humid family". Glad to see the ya ain't down yet. Keep us posted, and keep editing.

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  16. Lucy, thanks for the report on the Keys, especially my favorite spot of Key West. I feel terrible for the middle Keys and what they face to recover, but I do have to admit that I'm happy that Key West was spared this time. I have not yet hit Key West during Fantasy Fest, and even though I know it's a hot mess there during that time, I still want to be there during it someday. My first trip to Key West was unintentionally during Poker Run, and the sound of all those motorcycles was a bit much at times. However, it's so easy to go with the flow that I was able to fall in love with Key West anyway. When my daughter and son-in-law got married at Fort Zachary Taylor, the Gay Pride Parade was crossing a street we needed to get across (and get to the wedding location for a sunset ceremony), but in Key West, it is just a different atmosphere. We didn't panic or fret. We just got out of the cars and danced along with the music from the parade until it passed. To see the spirit of Key West still going strong is wonderful. Lucy, I do so love your posts from there!

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    1. thanks Kathy! loud motorcycles and boat engines are not my thing either:)

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  17. I love the spirit of the clean-up party. <3

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  18. Thanks so much for the update, Lucy. Love the parade pics but, oh, the clean up!

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