“From the balcony I looked out on the big field/it opens like the cover of an
old brief/And out come the wolves/their plans trampling the snow the asphalt/
I stand on my head and watch it all go away, bootin' up, shootin' up bring
on the brightness.”
And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid
Spec. Joe Pavlansky from Campbell, Ohio with 3rd Platoon, Company D, 1st of the 148th Infantry Regiment, Ohio Army National Guard, sits atop the roof of house looking down at the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. Soldiers of the 1-148 Inf. Reg. are part of a massive effort to bring relief to individuals impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
The pummels of dust kicked up from the helicopter that had just dropped me off began to finally clear, and I slowly began taking in my surroundings. The abandoned mall I would be calling home for the next several weeks looked like something from a post apocalyptic nightmare.
Tracing the line of the building from right to left, the view got worse the further left you went – sections of roof strewn about on the ground in a haphazard pattern, walls with holes in them strained under the weight of support and the water, everywhere pools of standing, putrid water.
It was obvious before the storm had torn this building to shreds that it had been under construction, a new shopping complex for this poor neighborhood. Now it looked like someone would have to start over. But when they’d ever be able to, not a one of us really knew.
I grabbed up my gear and made my way to the place that looked like it might contain some answers. As I drew near, a young Soldier, his eyes covered by dark aviator glasses, stripped down to his t-shirt, sweat glistening off his forehead walked up.
“Who the fuck are you?” he challenged.
“I’m the combat camera guy,” I responded.
“Oh, great, a fuckin' camera guy” he replied, an exasperated lift punctuating his voice. Tilting his head to an opening behind him, he announced my arrival, “Hey guys, check it out, we got a combat camera guy now!”
His call was met with disparaging remarks in the back. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I heard slurs against my mother, father and a few inquiries as to whether or not I had a sister, whether she cute and did she give up the goods easily.