Hurricane Katrina killed my studio (and worse)

I was reading this awesome 'show us your studio' post on Vintage Synth Explorer. Page after page of big studios, little studios, sexy gear. Then, on page 77 was a post with some very different pictures - a trashed Juno 106 and a rusted, rotting Fender Rhodes next to a heap of broken rack gear. The pictures were posted by Chris Birk, who lived in New Orleans, 8 blocks away from Fats Domino. He got out with his wife, cat, dog, pictures, a handful of gear ("my newly acquired SH09, my SH-101, my MicroModular, and a Boss DD3"). He returned one month later to find the house had been under five feet of water: "The Rhodes was submerged in salt-, sewer-, and Mississippi water for 3-4 days and sat in 40°C for about a month. The keys were frozen solid and the tines were covered in a thick layer of rust."
Plenty of people in New Orleans lost far more than studio gear and hard drives full of songs (Chris himself lost his house, his job and his wife lost her grandmother). But Music Thing isn't about other things, it's about gear. After the jump are more awful pictures, and Chris' full story, including just how long it takes to restore 600 CDs that have been soaked in salt water...
PS: Chris adds: "I've saved all the knob caps from the 106, so I'll be more that happy to give them to someone who has use for them!"
"Just like everybody else, my wife and I thought 'oh, we'll be back in 3 days, and life will return to normal....' like we did so often before when we evacuated and nothing happened. So on Sunday morning (8/28) we packed our cat, dog, important paperwork, pictures, 3 days worth of clothes, my newly acquired SH09, and SH101, my MicroModular+ a Boss DD3, and headed to Monroe, LA to stay at a hotel that would take animals. I would have brought more gear, but there is only so much that can fit in a VW...
"As a matter of fact, nobody really knew until Friday around midnight, that there could be something headed toward us. Everything was so quick that I even forgot I had an external HD that I could have dumped my songs onto.
The storm hit Monday morning. Of course we were watching it unfold on the news, hungover and tired. Around 8:30 am we had gotten a call from a friend that some barracks nearby our house were under water. (We're only 1.5 miles east of the Industrial Canal Levee breach, in St. Bernard Parish and right adjacent to the 9th Ward, only 8 blocks from Fats Domino's house).

"4 weeks later we were allowed to inspect our house. We had about 5 feet of water that was drained. Still it was a mess. Of course we had lost all our furniture, dishes, clothes, my wife's artwork, and my gear. I managed to salvage an Alesis Micron that was high up on a shelf, as well as some vinyl. My monitors were also higher up. About 600 CDs were submerged in saltwater for 2 days. It took me 2 weeks to clean them.
Here's the gear I lost:
2 Juno 106
Fender Rhodes MK73
Yamaha DX200
Casio CZ 1000
Casio SK1
Yamaha RY30
Roland TR505 Modified
EH Bigmuff
Dunlop CryBaby
TC M300
Roland Rev 2000
Boss DS1
Doepfer Drehbank
a crappy Behringer Mixer
some Mics
iMac G4
LaCie HD
and some other crap.
"It is hard not to be upset about the gear, but there are bigger things we've lost, like our house, and I've lost my job due to lack of convention business in NOLA. My wife managed to be transferred to Atlanta, and currently I am trying to find work here.
"Those curbside pictures were taken in mid January. Recovery is moving fairly slow. People are left to fend for themselves. E.g. one has to pay for his own debris removal now. My mother in law is still waiting for her FEMA trailer. She had to ride out the storm in a hospital (she was an ER clerk and they told her they were going to fire her if she would not show up for work; what happened - she was trapped in the hospital for about a week until help arrived, and lost her job anyway, because the hospital is closed), and has been couch surfing since August. My wife's grandmother lost her house as well, and 3 weeks ago suffered a massive stroke and passed away. Pretty much everybody in my family and circle of friends has lost close to everything.
"Anyway, we got out alive, and everybody in the family but grandmaw made it through the storm. That is a good thing.
"But that's enough ranting. I hope I you get the general mood of the New Orleans diaspora. BTW, I gladly accept gear donations ;-)

yup... that sux alright =/
TWO Junos! Man, that's enough to make me wanna cry :-(

my favourite reply on the original vintagesynth post of these images:

"that sucks so bad. I felt pretty indifferent about it all til now."
"that sucks so bad. I felt pretty indifferent about it all til now."

From one of the biggest jerks on the board, imagine that!
Yes that definately does suck..I had a friend who lost all his gear in a fire. At least nothing on the gear list was that incredibly rare. Rhodes' and Junos are easy to find if you know where to look. I wonder how much other phat gear was lost in Katrina? I shudder to think.

My friend Lil Steve and his rig.

Another guy I know lost quite an extensive guitar collection.

Brandon, you're right, I'll eventually get a Juno 60. Also, had I had an EMS or a 2600, I would have rented a U-haul. You gotta do watcha gotta do.

You'll never get it all back, but you need to know about Musicares, from the people at The Recording Academy. They are helping musicians like you get a lot of their instruments and gear replaced and get things moving again for your life in the right direction. No matter what anyone thinks about the Grammy Awards, or the TV show itself, the money I have personally seen land directly into the hands of the joe and mary sixpacks of music (working musicians, small studio owners, not famous stars, just regular folks) is enormous. Visit and make the toll free call to them. There is not a lot of red tape, they get money to musicians quickly and I've personally witnessed them help a lot of my friends from my old homeground area of the Gulf Coast after this tragedy. Help with gear replacement, rent, food, clothing, medical needs, you name it. Give them a call and see what they can do for you, it's also 100% confidential. I only know about the things they did for friends because I told those friends about Musicares and they called me after they got help to tell me how much help they got.
i thought the comment about saving the juno knobs for anyone that can use them was very cool and generous. i wish you all the best in recovering from this experience.
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joshua from telephone tel a viv lost his studio. real nice kit.. uninsured. among the never-to-be-recovered was an album project with richard devine. rich filled me in on this last week.. i had no idea.

my cousin has been working on one of the recovery crews out there for months and it seems the damage is far worse that i'd imagined.

the planet is alive and greater shifts have occured in its history. it still is a damn shame.
man that really sucks :o Seeing that pic of the Juno destroyed, that hurts me as much as if I was seeing someone dead :o really
I'm probably being too optimistic, but, hey, this is a chance to rebuild your studio and learn new things.
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