Got the following from my mom, from Pensacola, over a couple of emails:
Good News: Most of the trash on our street was picked up this week. Eight people, several oversized trucks, a machine with a claw on it, a front-end loader & some things I couldn't identify worked two days just on the section of our street that you could see from our driveway. One day, they worked on past dark, using large lights. The front-end loader was pushing logs down the street & compacting piles of debris while the claw thing filled truck after truck. They always had an empty truck behind the one they were filling, so the claw operator never had to wait -- efficient operation. The workers picked up stray pieces of debris that fell from the claw & threw them back onto the pile, directed traffic, etc. It was awesome to watch! For a while, the street was completely blocked off. Cars would pull into our driveway, so they could turn around & go back the way they came. The front-end loader actually went over the whole front yard next door & pushed everything into the street since no one lives there & nothing had been put at the curb. They also pushed everything that you piled up out into the street. When they "finished," the front-end loader scraped the street, removing most of the debris, but leaving the street pretty much solid brown with sand.
We just heard today that University Mall will open Nov. 1. The Gulf Coast Arts Festival, scheduled for Nov. 5-7, has been cancelled. Books-A-Million is still boarded up. FEMA has blue-roofed 2200 roofs & has 1800 to go. They are saying now that it will take approximately two yrs. to get everyone's roof replaced/repaired. We still haven't been able to get an estimate on our soffit. I'm still piling up branches, sticks, etc.
One other tidbit: So far, they've picked up 93,000 truckloads of debris & they are roughly halfway there. It is starting to look a little less like a disaster area & the horrible traffic problem is starting to ease up somewhat.