0:00

ABED RASHEED: Okay. Today’s date is Thursday, March 4, at 8:20 PM. My name is Abed Rasheed. I am interviewing Brittany Le Strange, and we are going to talk about her Sandy experience. First question, How are you today, Brittany?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I’m exhausted.

ABED RASHEED: Exhausted, me too. Long day of class and your name is Brittany. So where are you from?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I am from East Brunswick, NJ.

ABED RASHEED: How old are you?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I am 23.

ABED RASHEED: And how long have you lived in East Brunswick?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Basically my whole life, until the past two and half years.

ABED RASHEED: Where did you live those past two years?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Union Beach, I’ve been in like the past two years.

1:00

ABED RASHEED: Is this the house?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes.

ABED RASHEED: Have you lived in New Jersey all your life?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes, I have.

ABED RASHEED: How many people are in your house? Who do you live with?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When I’m home I live with my mom, my stepdad, and that’s it.

ABED RASHEED: No siblings?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: None that live us, no.

ABED RASHEED: How many siblings do you have?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: That’s a long story.

ABED RASHEED: We’ll save that for another day, then. What do you do for a living?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I am a waitress and a student.

ABED RASHEED: On average, how much would you say on a Friday night?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: One hundred or more, depending on my shift.

ABED RASHEED: What do you like about living in New Jersey?

2:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I enjoy being able to go to the city whenever I want, ’cause it’s right there, or down to the shore because it was right there. And I don’t have to pump my own gas.

ABED RASHEED: What would you say is your favorite beach?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Well, if I’m just going down the beach for the shore, probably Belmar. But if it’s for the boardwalk, Point Pleasant.

ABED RASHEED: How active are you in your community?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Not really, I don’t have enough time.

ABED RASHEED: How do you feel about the show, Jersey Shore?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I hate it!

ABED RASHEED: Just to make sure, what was you major in school?

3:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I am a history major and secondary education.

ABED RASHEED: You plan on teaching high school, correct?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes, world history if I can.

ABED RASHEED: When did you first hear about the storm coming?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I guess a week or so beforehand.

ABED RASHEED: And what were your first thoughts?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Here we go again.

ABED RASHEED: What did you expect?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I actually expected it to be a lot like Irene, I expected that it would be hyped up and it wouldn’t be anywhere near the hype.

ABED RASHEED: How did you prepare, if you did prepare.

4:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We had a generator, we had batteries, water, food dry goods, and non-perishables.

ABED RASHEED: Now, did you personally get any of these supplies, or were they already prepared?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We had a lot already in the house. I know I went out to get extra bread and stuff like that. The stores were crazy and bare.

ABED RASHEED: How long were you waiting in line for these supplies?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Long time.

ABED RASHEED: You think you had an adequate time to prepare for this?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: If it was taken as serious as it should have been, yes.

ABED RASHEED: What did you make of the governor’s warnings?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I believe he was doing his job, telling everyone to evacuate, because, I mean, you do live that close to the water and you never know what could happen.

5:00

ABED RASHEED: Around where you live, were there a lot of evacuations in the morning?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes.

ABED RASHEED: Did you make any other specific preparations? Such as, do you have any pets or cars that you left there?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: The cars were moved up to the top of the street or a different parking lot nearby.

ABED RASHEED: is this like higher ground?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes, they moved to higher ground.

ABED RASHEED: Now walk me through your day of the storm. Where were you? What were the signs of it?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I was at the time living in Union Beach with my boyfriend’s family, so I was there. It was a Sunday?

ABED RASHEED: Monday.

6:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: That’s right, it was Monday. Schools were canceled, I was doing homework. First signs, probably the winds and I remember watching the siding being torn off of the neighbor’s house.

ABED RASHEED: Did that siding affect your house? Did it hit it?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, it didn’t.

ABED RASHEED: What were the conditions like, as far as the weather?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: It was cold, it was extremely windy, maybe a little mist but it wasn’t raining at all.

ABED RASHEED: How was dinner that night? If you ate.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Actually, I don’t believe I ate dinner that night. I thought about it and we lost power and everything kind of went downhill from there.

ABED RASHEED: Since you lost power, how did you get your information?

7:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Cell phones were still working at the time, so 3G; you can get on the internet. We also had someone from another state, texting things they saw online.

ABED RASHEED: Where did you go to sleep?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I ended up sleeping in my boyfriend’s sister room with her.

ABED RASHEED: You don’t have any children, do you?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, I do not.

ABED RASHEED: When did the immediate storm end for you? You were in Union Beach at the time, correct?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When did it end? I guess it technically hasn’t. I guess when the water finally started to recede.

8:00

ABED RASHEED: Now let’s move to the very next day. What was going through your head the very next day?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: There’s gonna be a lot to clean up. I wonder what outside looks like ’cause we couldn’t really see anything one the water receded because it was so dark out. So I didn’t even get changed. I got up, put my jacket and shoes on, we all went outside and explored the street.

ABED RASHEED: You did go first outside, what did you see? How did you respond? What did you do, who did you contact? Who did you see?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I was with my boyfriend’s sister, mom, dad, neighbors because my boyfriend actually had to spend the night at work, so he wasn’t there.

ABED RASHEED: Where does he work?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: He works at Quick Chek, nearby his house.

ABED RASHEED: Did he have power during the storm?

9:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: They lost power but they had a generator.

ABED RASHEED: People were still coming in?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: The store was closed overnight, opened in the morning and they had lines wrapped around the building for coffee, and unbelievable lines for gas.

ABED RASHEED: Also, it was a Quick Chek, gas station-type store?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes they were the only gas for miles.

ABED RASHEED: And what city was this?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: There in Hazlet, right on the other side of the highway. First reaction going outside was probably “holy crap,” because there was garbage everywhere, trees down, fences missing. Someone’s pool cover was all the way down at the end of the street.

ABED RASHEED: Did you suffer any damages?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: The house had close to four feet of water in it.

10:00

ABED RASHEED: Close to four feet of water?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Close to four feet.

ABED RASHEED: Can you describe the scene and the mood that was on the street, of basically your neighbors?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: The next morning?

ABED RASHEED: Same day, the day after the storm.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: It was very depressing and quiet. I guess the calm after the storm you could say. Everyone was just in shock and didn’t really know what to think or where to start.

ABED RASHEED: Now you said before that you have a friend out of state that was calling you?

11:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: During the time that the water was rushing into the house, he actually lives in Tennessee, he was texting, letting us know what time high tide was supposed to be done, what time the water should start receding, what time we should start seeing it go down, if we didn’t see it go down let him know, asked if there was anyone in the area he could call to come get us, ’cause obviously we didn’t have a house, but we said no.

ABED RASHEED: How about the day after that one? How was dealing with you house, your property?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I mean, it was depressing, it was still just a shock, everyone was still in shell shock. Everyone had their own breaking down points and it was just a lot of clean up, a lot of garbage, a lot of heirlooms and collectible things that had to be thrown out.

ABED RASHEED: Did you stay at your residence or did you go somewhere else?

12:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We stayed there the whole time.

ABED RASHEED: How did you get by on living the day-to-day necessities?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We had stuff. Not everyone had generators; a lot of neighbors shared gas, a lot of people came over and charged their phones in our generator. We took all the stuff out of the freezer and put it into coolers with ice. One of the neighbors had propane for their grill, so they would cook the meat on the grill.

ABED RASHEED: So it was a group effort?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, a lot of people came together.

ABED RASHEED: You guys all shared the hardships.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Pretty much.

ABED RASHEED: How long were you without power?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We were without power for eleven days.

ABED RASHEED: What day did it come back on?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Whatever eleven days after the storm was, I don’t remember dates of the top of my head. The storm was on the 28th?

ABED RASHEED: Yes.

13:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So the 9th of November.

ABED RASHEED: I got power back on that day too, it was my present. How about the stores, when did they open?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Quick Chek was open. With my boyfriend working there, it was easier for us to get things from there when they came in. They had deliveries come in. Grocery stores weren’t open. Target opened, they had a power station and they had backup generators, obviously the frozen food and things like that were all spoiled and they were all blocked off but any other kind of food, if they hadn’t been sold already. I know I went there to get 14:00pants and socks because all my clothes were under water.

ABED RASHEED: I am so sorry about that. That sucks.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah.

ABED RASHEED: Were you forced to buy a new wardrobe after that?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, we took all the clothes and hung them up outside and actually being able to hang them up and not in bags; they air-dried and didn’t get that mildew scent to them. I actually had a friend in Howell who volunteered to wash our laundry. Dropped it off to her and got it back in a few days.

ABED RASHEED: How did you clean the mess that was in your house?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: One thing at a time. Started with just going through what was garbage, what had to be kept, what was salvageable, what wasn’t salvageable, one room at a time. Putting things into piles, cleaning the floor 15:00because there just dirt everywhere.

ABED RASHEED: Sorry to bring back painful memories. Who did you look to for support?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Each other.

ABED RASHEED: I meant, as far as the power companies, insurance companies, FEMA.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: The insurance companies were called the first day, homeowner’s and flood, FEMA was involved the next few days, the township.

ABED RASHEED: How long did the response take?

16:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Longer then we were originally told.

ABED RASHEED: What do you mean?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: They were supposed to be there within a few days, it took them a week or so to get there. Actually, Verizon Fios came out faster than the insurance companies. Once we had power back and that was, actually yeah, ’cause we had power back eleven days, they were supposed to be there in three days and they hadn’t come till after we got power back and that was because the insurance companies were sending a lot of people from down south cause they were more equipped to deal with this kind of disaster, where insurance agents up in this area were not.

ABED RASHEED: Which one helped the most? Who did you work with?

17:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I think the flood insurance covered the most.

ABED RASHEED: Now, how was your community helping with it, would you say it is—

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: There was a food bank put together at the police station, a lot of things were donated, everything was dropped off at the police station, volunteers came down, people from other towns came, I mean, the most annoying part was seeing people drive around and just gawk. You know? Just leave us 18:00alone. Stop watching our tragedy. I know you wanna see what’s going on in this state but at the same time you’re making the residents very uncomfortable.

ABED RASHEED: Would you say you did not feel safe?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: There was looting, I know, we had a police scanner plugged into the generator, so we heard when people got picked up for looting and where it was and things like that. And it was just scary the way people do something like that during a time like this and with people driving up and down the street, looking at the garbage and stuff like that, it got to a point where there was a curfew and you shouldn’t be out past a certain time, I think it was six o’clock or something like that. And it was just, I don’t know.

ABED RASHEED: How was the police response?

19:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Good

ABED RASHEED: Was there a lot of church, or synagogues, or mosques that were involved in the effort?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: There was Holy Family Church in—I don’t know if it’s in Hazlet or Union Beach—they used to have a school …….with it and its been empty so the National Guard and all that was there actually Red Cross set up over there for a while and there was some kind of Buddhist place from California, maybe, that set up a thing that gave out gift cards and blankets and stuff.

20:00

ABED RASHEED: Did you get any type of aid, and if you did, where did it come from?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: We received money from the insurance company, we were denied by FEMA and we were able to go to police station and get anything we might needed, cleaning supplies, cases of water if we needed it, but we still had some, food, basically anything. We had our friend bring us hot meals that had power, one of the best things that happened was someone was driving around with pans of baked ziti and mac and cheese and were giving out giving out bowls to the residents. They didn’t live around there, didn’t have power themselves, cooked it out the grill and I actually ended up knowing the family 21:00that was doing it. I went to grade school with their kids.

ABED RASHEED: How was the public transportation, like buses?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Not sure about the buses, I know the train was out for a couple weeks because I do take the train to school.

ABED RASHEED: And that’s the what, New Jersey transit?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yeah, the Coast Line.

ABED RASHEED: What is that, Northern Coast Line or Quarter Coast Line?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, it’s just the Coast Line.

ABED RASHEED: For how long?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Couple weeks, I think. For a while they were doing free buses from PNC Bank Arts Center up to Newark Penn station and even to do that up 22:00to Newark Penn, everything was a mess. Because trains to New York were hard to come by so you had to get in line to get on the train, I was lucky to be able to get to school.

ABED RASHEED: How long were the schools out for?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Kean was closed for closed for about a week, I believe it was. But I didn’t go back for another week after that. So I was out of school for two weeks because I unable to get back to school and there was so much that still needed to be dealt with.

ABED RASHEED: I know I asked this differently before, but let me ask again—any major losses?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Furniture, electronics, I mean, my boyfriend’s dad had a 23:00gorgeous pool table, it killed us to take it apart. It cracked, and—

ABED RASHEED: He was probably telling you guys “Don’t touch the felt!”

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: —pretty much, it killed us all to take that apart and there’s just so much, mostly electronics and stuff and furniture. A few pieces were salvageable but—

ABED RASHEED: Did you contribute to your community at all? Money, resources, generator, open house?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Well, we did have neighbors come use the generator.

ABED RASHEED: Oh you did say that? I’m sorry.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: It’s okay, we really couldn’t contribute money to anything. I guess just opening the house so people could come and use the 24:00generator, charge their phones or cameras, anything they needed. We shared food. Everyone helped each other move big things out of the house, so manpower.

ABED RASHEED: How did you feel about the response, as far as the local government?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I believe that everyone responded as all as they could in the time.

ABED RASHEED: And the insurance companies responded faster than FEMA and FEMA totally denied you, you said, right?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: FEMA denied a lot of people because they wanted you to go 25:00through your insurance bookies first. I mean, insurance companies didn’t respond as fast as local government did, with donating things, like I said, they were sending people from the south and it took a while for them to get there. Like I said before, Verizon Fios responded faster than the insurance company did, to fix the Internet and phones.

ABED RASHEED: Do you think New Jersey prepared adequately?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No, I do not.

ABED RASHEED: What could have been done differently?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I believe a lot of people thought it was just a hype like it was for Irene and I think that people should’ve realized and people should’ve implicated a mandatory evacuations better, I believe that people 26:00should’ve realized it’s coming, that it’s going to hit us and unfortunately it was just so much “right time right place” with high tide and full moon the time of the surge, time to hit land, everything. And unfortunately a lot of people lost houses, and—

ABED RASHEED: Do you think anyone is to blame or was it a freak occurence?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I believe it was more of a freak occurrence, I mean, everything like right time right place. I know Union Beach doesn’t have any dunes, like if they had more dunes less water would’ve came into the town. I know the street that was on the drainage has always sucked and it always floods so if the drainage was done better, maybe it wouldn’t have flooded so much.

ABED RASHEED: Now, I know you said before that you couldn’t stand people 27:00driving by, gawking at your tragedies, how did you feel about the media coverage? Was it accurate; was it sensational, did you feel represented?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I feel that the media, it focused on some things, but it didn’t really focus on everything as a whole, it tuned into certain areas when there was just so much more. It definitely represented a lot of pain and sorrow and lost but there was just a lot more that could have been emphasized.

ABED RASHEED: What did you think about President Obama?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I think that he acted very well. I was surprised he actually came to New Jersey and he spoke with residents and things like that. I believe it was a really good thing for him, and honestly it might have changed a 28:00lot of people’s votes for him.

ABED RASHEED: What about Governor Christie? What about him?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I think he did and has been doing and still is doing an excellent job in the matter.

ABED RASHEED: Did it change any opinion of what you had of him before?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Christie or Obama?

ABED RASHEED: Christie, pretty sure everyone loves Obama, even if you hate him you still love him.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I think I respect Christie a little more. I defiantly think he did a good job representing our state. I mean, he’s still not my favorite guy, because I want to go into education but I think in this time of crisis he stepped up and did what was necessary and he is still fighting for our state to get aid and everything.

ABED RASHEED: How do you feel about the response of the rest of the country?

29:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I feel like some people are like oh know you know what we go through. Like different states down south get hit by hurricanes but it’s like a completely different thing. I mean we had so much damage, all the insurance adjusters that I saw, especially with where I work a lot of people coming in and eating at my job, talking. They were down in Katrina and all of them said that this was so much worse than Katrina. And you think about that, Katrina was such a tragedy to be compared to that and say that we were worse, it kind of puts a lot into perspective. I saw so many put of state people coming 30:00in, just to volunteer with Red Cross or even police departments came in to help patrol the towns. I know Union Beach had, I believe Michigan State Police Troopers going around for a while. Other states donated cars, and ambulances, and fire trucks to units that lost them. I mean it was, of course Alabama Power, I saw a lot of them come and try and help to get the power back. It was nice to see out of state and kind of people coming together in a way.

ABED RASHEED: Did you every experience any other storm? You said Irene, but that was a walk in the park compared to this.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: With Irene, the streets flooded, it didn’t come anywhere near the house, it came up halfway up the lawn, but we expected that because the street always floods, like I said. I vaguely remember storms when I was little 31:00but I don’t remember any of their names or much about them except the rain. That’s about it.

ABED RASHEED: How has it shaped your environmental issues? Does it make you think about changing, as far as raising your house, taking more precautions, or do you think it has afflicted you politically: climate change, government response, FEMA?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I mean, technically, the house doesn’t need to be raised because we’re not that close to the water at all. The reason we flooded was because the drains and creek overflowed behind the house. Can you repeat the question?

32:00

ABED RASHEED: How has it shaped your environmental issues? Do you think it affect you more personally or politically?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I guess both, I’m not sure which one more. I guess next time there is a storm, defiantly take more precaution, be more prepared, next time actually buy into the hype, don’t just think it’s hype. Political wise, climate change is something that everyone needs to be aware of, regardless because the storms are getting worse. Government response was adequate but there is always room for improvement. I believe that FEMA’s response was slow in some cases and like I said before a lot of people were denied and the way 33:00certain things were done with FEMA, like how certain people got aid and others didn’t , it doesn’t really make sense to me, I feel like I know people who should have gotten aid and didn’t. I wasn’t too happy with FEMA in that regard.

ABED RASHEED: How was your voting experience impacted by the storm?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Actually, I’m a registered voter in East Brunswick, actually technically South Brunswick, so I had to drive home to do that, which I made sure I did. My place of voting didn’t change but where I vote, there were other districts there cause I walked in and I was confused because usually there’s one or two but there was quite a lot because of power outages and things like that.

ABED RASHEED: So you didn’t have to go to a new polling place but you saw a lot of people that had to.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

ABED RASHEED: How many districts would you say?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Usually where I vote there’s like one to three districts 34:00there, I'm not entirely sure but there was probably five or six when I went this year.

ABED RASHEED: Do you think the gas shortages impacted the voter turnout?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I mean, it didn’t affect mine, but I can see how it would because especially after the implemented the odd/even, I don’t know if that was before or after the election. If you didn’t have gas you couldn’t get to the polling, especially if you were displaced. A lot of gas stations were without power, so I think it did impact a lot of people.

ABED RASHEED: Okay, going a little ahead into the future, have things returned to normal since Sandy?

35:00

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: No.

ABED RASHEED: Why not?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I guess more yes and no, the house is still being reconstructed, I guess you could say. I mean I am no longer living with my boyfriend and his family, I am now living with my aunt and cousin who live in Keansburg and their house is still under construction, barely anything has been done. I know my boyfriend’s house is still under construction, it’s almost done but there’s still a lot of things just need to; little things need to be done. Not to mention houses still need to be torn down and cleared and there’s businesses that need to reopen and rebuild. The trains are still not on their, they're on a schedule but there not on the right schedule, they’re still on an 36:00alternate schedule. If you go online it’s updated, but if you go to the train stations they haven’t updated yet, there’s still the old schedules posted so there still not on the original schedule yet. You go through certain parts of town and it’s a ghost town. They’re abandoned and it just, you still see thinks like donations outside the police station and it’s not gonna be back to normal for a while.

ABED RASHEED: Does this change your outlook on the world?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Um—

37:00

ABED RASHEED: Has this changed your outlook on the world?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I don’t know, it definitely make me realize how people come together in a time of need and a time of crisis and it makes me wish that everyone was like this on a daily basis, not just when a tragedy happens. If more people were like this maybe there would be less war and conflict going on, I mean of course your always gonna have people that will stoop low in a bad situation like that people that looted and all that but at the same time you had so many people come together, you had so many out of state people come to new jersey and help us. They weren’t asked, they all volunteered their own time. You had people come and help rebuild houses, you had power companies come and get everything back on, sure it wasn’t in the best timely manner, but 38:00hopefully now the electric companies will be redoing the way everything works ’cause I know people that were saying our systems are out of date and not adequate. So hopefully that changes in the future.

ABED RASHEED: Do you think it impacted the 2012 presidential election?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Definitely.

ABED RASHEED: Why?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Because during times of tragedy and things like that people don’t want change, so I feel like in the way Obama responded, a lot of people came out and voted for him or their vote might have changed for him. I know personally I wouldn’t want to bring in someone new in a time like that, you 39:00want someone, he was in office when it started, you want someone who’s gonna stay in office and is going to know what’s going on. You don’t want someone new to come into office and be like “Oh well, forget about you.”

ABED RASHEED: Do you think it’s another fact the 2013 governor election: Chris Christie

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Definitely! I believe Christie did a phenomenal job, he is still doing a phenomenal job and I did not vote for him last time. As much as I do not like his views on education and teachers, there’s a chance I might vote him, I’m not sure yet. I think he did a good job by New Jersey and he’s still doing a great job by us.

ABED RASHEED: Now what are you going to tell your kids and hopefully your grandkids about Hurricane Sandy?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: It sucked! I’ll tell them everything that I can remember, 40:00tell them how scary it was to sit there and just watch the water come into the house and there is nothing you can do about it besides try and move to higher ground, try to move thing out of the way. I want them to know what it was like to have everyone band together and help each other. I want them to know everything. I want to be able to show them photos of what the shore was like as I remember it at their age. I mean, the boardwalks are never gonna be the same. I used to go down to seaside every summer with my family for a week and it will never be the same again. So I want to be able to show them my memories of what it was in comparison to what it will be. I want to be able to tell them the 41:00precautions we are now taking, if any precautions get put into place for any future storms, be like you know, this wasn’t here before hand but it is now to help prevent anything like this from happening again. What I really want them to understand is how everyone banned together, I suppose, the compassion that people have in one another.

ABED RASHEED: If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Well, the storm took a lot but New Jersey will prevail, we are a strong state. We’ve already come back a lot so far, it’s nowhere near rebuilt, its gonna be years before things are actually rebuilt, but we will get there. Sandy might have taken a lot from us but we’ll come back.

42:00

ABED RASHEED: Great quote by the way. What will the legacy of the storm be?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I think how much Sandy took from us. The damage. I mean I think legacy-wise, there’s the key photos everyone will remember. Here’s gonna be the yellow house in Union Beach that was half washed away and still standing, there’s going to be the roller coaster in Seaside in the middle of the ocean, those are the top two that I can think of, that stand out in my head. Those are two images that I will never get out of my head and I saw that one house in person and it was scary. To see how much damage water can do, it’s 43:00just scary

ABED RASHEED: And finally, did I miss anything? Was there anything we should have talked about that I haven’t?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: I mean, I didn’t really go over my experience, I guess. I mean I touched on it was kinda scary to sit there and not be able to do anything as the water came in and it came in fast. My boyfriend’s dad went outside to check how far away the water was from the house. he was maybe about five feet from the garage, came inside, was in side for a few minutes, went out to the garage and all of a sudden there was water coming into the garage and that was less than five minutes. The house was under inches in less than five minutes. It started coming in the back door. We had to get the generator out of the garage 44:00and put it up high as we could, so it wouldn’t get wet and destroyed. I know image I will never get out of my head is I collect rubber ducks and they all came floating out of the bedroom. At that point you couldn’t do anything but laugh, like where’s the ducks, what happened to the ducks, what room are they in now? I still get tightness in my chest when I hear water rushing, sounding like it’s rushing into something because I mean, there was so much water. There was almost four feet in the house. We sat on the stairs and watched it, waited until it down, then when it was down low enough we got down, tried to explore the house. Opened the doors to let it rush out a little faster, took brooms and pushing it out of the house. it was just crazy and the cleanup was 45:00crazy and it’s still, I mean things that had to be replaced, all the appliances, and it really makes you think about like, especially when your without power for eleven days it really makes you realize what you can go living without and what you really like are so dependent on. The stove was gas, but we were scared to use it because we didn’t know what it was underneath. You can’t use the microwave, the stove, the fridge is gone, we were able to hook the one fridge up to the generator but it wasn’t on for twenty-four hours like it normally would be, light. At night you had to be creative of how many things you could plug into the generator. You have to ration the gas, it was just a 46:00scary experience.

ABED RASHEED: Okay, well I thank you for this interview and I conclude it at 9:06. Thank you very much, Brittany. Once again this is Abed Rasheed concluding this interview with Brittany Le Strange about Hurricane Sandy. Thank you so much.

0:26 - Interview introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Today’s date is Thursday, March 4, at 8:20 PM. My name is Abed Rasheed. I am interviewing Brittany Le Strange, and we are going to talk about her Sandy experience.

Segment Synopsis: Syed and Le Strange converse about where she lives and her job. They also talk about her school and what she likes to do on her free time.

Keywords: Beach; Belmar; Boardwalks; Community; East Brunswick; Gas; Jersey Shore (TV); New Jersey; Point Pleasant; Shore; Union Beach

Subjects:


GPS: (East Brunswick, NJ)
Map Coordinates: 40.432480, -74.406709

3:18 - Reaction to the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:When did you first hear about the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange talks about what she did to prepare for the storm. She talks about what her family went through to assure they would be okay during the storm.

Keywords: Before the storm; Cars; Evacuate; Evacuation warnings; Governor; Hurricane Irene; Irene; Pets; Prepare; Storm; Supplies; Water

Subjects:

5:42 - Day of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Now walk me through your day of the storm.

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange talks about what happened on the day of the storm.

Keywords: Children; House; Power; Sleep; Storm; Union Beach; Windy

Subjects:


GPS: (Union Beach, NJ)
Map Coordinates: 40.446484, -74.177183

8:03 - After the storm

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Partial Transcript:What was going through your head the very next day?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange talks about what she did the next day. She tells how her family cleaned up and how their day-to-day life changed overnight.

Keywords: After the storm; Breaking point; Damages; Day to day; Day-to-day; Depressing; Gas; Generators; Hardships; Hazlet; Neighborhood; Outside; Property; quick chek; Shock; Stores; Street; Trees Fallen; Water; Work

Subjects:

15:29 - Coping with the aftermath

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Partial Transcript:Who did you look to for support?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange talks about who did and did not help her family in this time of need. She explains how FEMA and the insurance companies were of little help and were not punctual.

Keywords: Aid; Cleaning supplies; Community; Coping; Curfews; Donated; FEMA; Flood; Flood insurance; Food bank; Insurance companies; Looting; National Guard; Police response; Response; Safe; Transportation

Subjects:

21:12 - Lack of public services

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How long was the public transportation out?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange says what the public services were like due to the storm. She also goes over some of her losses as a result of the storm.

Keywords: buses; Furniture; Losses; Schools; Trains; Transportation

Subjects:

23:38 - Contribution to the community

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Did you contribute to your community at all?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange's family had a generator to help her neighbors and friends charge their phones. The family did not have much to contribute to the storm relief.

Keywords: food; Generators; Money; Phones; Resources

Subjects:

24:26 - Emotions about the response

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Partial Transcript:How did you feel about the response?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange explains her views on what the government did to help the community. She was satisfied with what both the federal and local government did to help.

Keywords: Alabama Power; Barack Obama; Blame; Cars; Chris Christie; crisis; Damage; Donating; drainage; FEMA; Fire engines; Flood; Gawkers; Gawking; Government aid; Governor; Governor Christie; High tide; Houses; Hurricane Irene; Hurricane Katrina; Insurance companies; Internet; Irene; Katrina; Loss; Phones; Prepared adequately; President Obama; Red Cross; Residents; Respond; Street; Surge; Tragedy; Union Beach; Volunteer; Vote

Subjects:

30:45 - First-time storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Did you ever experience any other storm?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange had never really experienced a storm like Sandy before. She claims to remember rain and wind from other storms but nothing like the real storm experienced for the first time.

Keywords: Climate change; FEMA; Flood; Government aid; House; Hurricane Irene; Irene; Political; Precaution; Storm

Subjects:

33:15 - Voting Experience

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How was your voting experience impacted by the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange was proud to say she voted this year. She told her story of what it was like to vote in a district that included other districts for the first time. Her place of voting did not change but she noticed that other people had to change their place to vote.

Keywords: District; East Brunswick; Gas shortage; Gas stations; Voting

Subjects:


GPS: (East Brunswick, NJ)
Map Coordinates: 40.431173, -74.404306

34:55 - Current conditions

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Have things returned to normal since Sandy?

Segment Synopsis: New Jersey will never be the same anymore. Le Strange tells in which ways New Jersey had recuperated. There is still much more work that is needed to be done.

Keywords: Businesses; Come together; Construction; Crisis; Donation; House; Hurricane Sandy; Keansburg; Looters; Police station; Rebuild; Sandy; Torn down; Town; Tragedy; Trains; Volunteer

Subjects:

38:21 - 2012 election

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Do you think it impacted the 2012 presidential election?

Segment Synopsis: Le Strange tells how the 2012 election was impacted by the storm.

Keywords: 2013 election; Barack Obama; Change; Chris Christie; Governor Christie; New Jersey; President Obama; Presidential campaign; Vote

Subjects:

39:51 - Looking back on Sandy

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What are you going to tell your kids and hopefully your grand-kids in the future about Hurricane Sandy?

Segment Synopsis: Hurricane Sandy is a tragedy that most people of New Jersey will not forget. Le Strange talks about her view of the storm and what she will remember most.

Keywords: Boardwalks; Gas; Generators; Higher ground; House; Hurricane Sandy; Legacy; New Jersey; Photos; Rebuild; Sandy; Seaside; Shore; Union Beach; Water; Without power

Subjects:


GPS: (Union Beach, NJ)
Map Coordinates: 40.446353, -74.177269
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