Kitchen 35

While it’s all still fresh in my mind, I wanted to present the milieu of Kitchen 35, my workplace staging area for the last three weeks. When I started there, we had 19 ERVs and served about 8,500 meals per day. The typical ERV did about 180 meals for lunch and 210 for supper. My ERV, 1166, did almost exactly those numbers. The biggest server tended to Tony’s ERV, also on the Long Beach route, which did a record of 520 lunches one day!

In the last week, when we absorbed Kitchens 7 and 34, we had a whopping total of 41 ERVS and distributed 16,500 meals per day. It is my understanding that this was the largest collection of ERVs ever in one place.

Now sit back and enjoy a little photo tour of Kitchen 35 and its inhabitants:

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[a parade of ERVs as Kitchen 7 joins our ranks]

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[the parking lot begins to fill with ERVs, each in their assigned lane, ready for the loading of their lunch run]

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[the job board, with each ERV’s route and crew, as well as their daily assignments]

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[where the magic happens: the actual Kitchen — with “the picket fence café” in the foreground]

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[the loading area, where the Yard Dogs load each pallette with each ERV’s allotment of food, drinks, snacks, and supplies]

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[pallettes ready to be loaded]

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[the infamous Cambro Camp, where the food storage containers are taken apart, scrubbed, power-washed, reassembled, and stacked for the next meal]

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[the Kitchen 35 gang, before the merger(s). can you find me?]

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[Allison & Tieg (a.k.a. “the twins”) wait for their ERV to be loaded]

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[Aaron, Connor, and Saturn in hurry-up-and-wait mode]

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[getting the ERVs lined up for the next day’s runs]

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[K-35, over and out]

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About joshcomix
Brooklyn-based cartoonist specializing in nonfiction comics about topics like Hurricane Katrina, the media, travel, and finance.

8 Responses to Kitchen 35

  1. deadredfred says:

    I love all your reports and observations. I have an illustrator friend who had a house that suffered the usual damage of most of the houses. (hole in the roof) He managed to get a press pass so he could get into the area where his house was. He also has an apt. here in Brooklyn. Getting his first hand account as a resident of New Orleans was very interesting in addition to what you have experienced.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • 4_eyez says:

      thanks, fred. i found myself unable to imagine what it was like down there until i actually went. no amount of news coverage was able to convey it like my own eyes & feet.

      • nexusnrg says:

        This is what I tell people every day who ask me what its like to live in the wake of such utter distruction.
        I was browsing LJ entries by searching the keyword ‘biloxi’ and found your entries from the Red Cross. I wasn’t directly helped by you, but indirectly I was. I want to thank you for taking the time you made to help all of us out. Every day in the weeks after the storm ERV’s roamed through my neighborhood providing hot meals. The Red Cross cut me a check for 1265 dollars which helped greatly. Still haven’t gotten anything from FEMA, and more or less have been pushed aside by them.
        The American Red Cross and it’s dedicated volunteers such as yourself have made a drastic impact to the stability of this stricken area. And for that I thank you very much. Sorry you had to deal with port-o-potty issues. But you’re right, “no amount of news coverage was (is) able to convey it like your own eyes & feet.” No matter how many photos I take of my home (Mississippi Gulf Coast), no matter how much video footage I have taken, it just can’t allow you to completely grasp the destruction I live within.
        I read about your observations with the die-hards, and I agree with that 100%. I couldn’t imagine myself working this ordeal longer than a couple of weeks before needing a break. As long as there are volunteers willing to come in and dedicate some time to the organization then things will be fine. Hopefully the people in Montgomery will be able to realize that these people aren’t following protocol and will need to be pulled aside before it causing some form of Post-traumatic stress syndrome.

      • 4_eyez says:

        Thank you so much for taking time out of what must be a difficult ordeal to post on my journal! Despite being in Gulfport for three weeks, it’s impossible for me to imagine what it must be like to live in that situation. I’ve only been back home in New York for a week, and already the details are fading from my mind. It’s impossible to conceptualize the magnitude of the disaster.
        It means so much to me that you, an actual resident of the community, signed off on what I wrote. I would hate to have misrepresented the situation or the impact of the Red Cross. So thank you for that.
        I sincerely applaud the courage and high spirits of the people of the Gulf Coast like yourself, who are doing their best to restore their community. On my last day on Long Beach “C”, many of the folks I had served meals to invited me to come back to the area when it’s rebuilt. I have no doubt it will be rebuilt, and really look forward to coming back.

      • nexusnrg says:

        That’s a good sign that you’re allowing yourself to detach from the incident and move on with your normal life. I hope you don’t feel guilty or bad at all. After all you have those memories pretty well preserved here on-line. To be honest I feel very fortunate. My house was still structurally safe to live in. Lost the chimney, siding, some shingles, a couple of windows, and my wooden fence. But everything inside was okay. Once power was restored we were able to move back in. Pretty much all of our services are at 100% now, but houses in my neighborhood were completely gutted out, stripped down to the framework. I have A/C, Cable, DSL, and Telephone so we’re in good shape. I feel for those who are still living in tents and trailers or worse, in the woods with no shelter. Those people are the most deserving of help right now.
        I honestly believe that you could take all of your notes and compile them into a news story and several media agencies would probably publish it. Of course something like that would probably need to have approval with Red Cross public affairs first, but I couldn’t see how they wouldn’t allow a documentary such as your’s become published. You really put a great spin on the insight to a volunteer’s actions going on down here. I feel it’s important that the residents of the stricken area know just what volunteers like yourself endured to get here, and how you managed the daily activities. Not just us but people all over the country should read it.
        There has been some negative press about the Red Cross in the beginning of the incident because of logistic issues, failed communication issues, and it did leave a sour taste in all of the locals mouths. However I’m sure by this point all of that has faded away. Your journal entries just really give us a detailed idea of what each volunteer went through.
        If you do make it down here be sure to let me know so I can hook you up with a nice meal. I know where all the best places to eat are. French, Greek, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and of course American.

      • 4_eyez says:

        i’m thinking about translating my experiences into a graphic novel project of some kind. as you said, i’m not sure what the legal issues are with the Red Cross, but i’m sure i could work around them.
        i’m glad to hear that whatever negative impressions folks had about the R.C. are mostly gone now. i think anyone could see how dedicated the organization is to its mission.
        and thanks for your invite. i will definitely take you up on it when i come back. because to be honest i wasn’t too impressed with the selection available at present: Sonic, Burger King, TGIF, O’Charley’s, and Hooters. yuck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Biloxi
        Thanks for posting the pics of K35! I have been searching for pics of the kitchens and was pleased to come across yours.
        I was only able to visit K35 once, on Thanksgiving. your catering was fantastic!
        I spent 11 weeks with K37, who K35 eventually merged with. The operations continue..
        Thanks for sharing!

      • 4_eyez says:

        Re: Biloxi
        ELEVEN WEEKS?!?!? You are the die-hard of all die-hards. Wow…

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