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Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans - Sean Romanek

I promised to post the new T-shirt design today, but given the situation in New Orleans, I'm going to wait a week. Check back next Thursday to see & buy the new design.

My family still has received no word from my brother, Sean Romanek, who was thought to have been evacuated to the New Orleans Superdome on Sunday, then possibly taken Alexandria or Monroe, Louisiana with a group of special health & medical needs evacuees. The only thing we can confirm beyond a doubt is that he was in New Orleans on Sunday morning.

My parents, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, exchanged emails with Jane Fountain, who worked at the "Rhythm Center", a social services center in Metairie, New Orleans, that has been instrumental in helping my brother build a stable life over the past year or so.

I am posting her two emails here, with the intention of disseminating information about the state of emergency in New Orleans, as well as disseminating as much information about my brother, who we have had no word from since Sunday.

1st email, Wed., Aug. 30, 2005

This is Jane Fountain. I spoke to Ms. Odile Henry, who owns the group home where Sean was staying on Saturday and Sunday. It is my understanding from her that she had all of her clients evacuated to the SuperDome for the medically needed. The Dome was opened for special needs at 8am Sunday morning. She told me she would be there for the opening. Clients such as Sean were triaged and set up with cots in the Grand Ballroom which was separated from the general population which was admitted later Sunday afternoon.

I last spoke to clients and two nurses on duty on Sunday night about 9:30pm and was told they were again being triaged to be sent to emergency evacuation centers set up for the medically needed in Alexandria and Monroe in Louisiana. Our phone service, including cellular, has not been working since that time due to the storm. I do know he had his medication when he was first evacuated and was told that once they went to North Louisiana they would be able to supply clients with medications if needed for a period of time.

I myself am just getting settled in Jackson, MS and have not had electricity until a few hours ago. You have had more news about the devastation than I have. I have been trying to care for my family, staff and clients in the midst of all of this. Everyone has lost everything we own except for the little we were able to transport with us. All of our homes are under 6-7 feet of water and will not be allowed back in for 3 months. There is only 1 way into New Orleans at this time and it willl be used to bring in troops, supplies, etc. The general public will not be allowed, and trust me, there are no back roads.

I have been working all morning getting info from Red Cross at the shelters
here in Jackson, MS. They do not have a list of who is in the shelters or where at this time, but they are working on this. This info will eventually be
on the web and I will keep you informed. The local people do know who I am
and that I am asking about many mental health clients and want to work with
me since I can help locate family for the clients.

I do now have internet access, but not phone service. This is the best way to communicate for now. I am sure you will want Sean with you as soon as possible. Please send me your address and phone # again, with info as to how you could get Sean to you. I am thinking that since you had him flown in before you could do that again. If so, please advise so I can follow local news about flights and make arrangements to eventually get him out.

I am sending more info following this


2nd email , Wed., Aug. 30, 2005 :

Me again -

Sean will need to leave the area, as we all are. However, this will be a slow process. I cannot tell you how difficult this is for all of us at this time. We have lost everything quite literally. I still have my partner and her husband, Corinne who stayed behind to assist clients and medical patients and is now missing. Denise, our clinical manager lived in the 9th ward and we know she lost her home, but she is also missing. And I have close family members missing at this time.

I will do everything I can to locate Sean as soon as possilbe and will keep you informed. I plan to get to Baton Rouge area as soon as I can and will be working very closely with the Red Cross in many areas.

I would like to get Sean's Medicaid transferred to your state asap. His ssa check is automatically deposited into his account so that will be unaffected. I can help you get those funds transferred later this month. My first priority is finding Sean and all of the clients.

Please keep in mind, Sean is a survivor and he will be just fine. He will love telling you and me about all these new experiences.

Stay calm as best you can and email me as often as you want. We all need to hold together as best we can. The devastation is unbelievable and I'm not sure that all of this has sunk in that we have lost everything, our homes, our schools, our businesses. My children are having a difficult time with this, but like I told him, we are lucky, we just got electricity, which is more than what most people in Jackson have right now. My husband just stayed in line for 4 1/2 hours to get gas. I never thought this area so far north would have been affected as much as it has.

Have faith and keep us all in your prayers, that's all weve got.


My Brother:
  • Sean Alan Romanek
  • 6' 6" tall and quite thin
  • 45 years old
  • smarter than you are
  • often seen carrying a guitar

If anyone has any news at all, about Sean, or about the situation in New Orleans generally - please post a reply on this blog, or email me personally at:




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