Monday, September 05, 2005

September 4, 2005

ItÂ’s like the Wild West here. Good guys and bad guys, they all have guns. The AP reported that the police shot 8 people crossing a bridge with guns. Then: the Army Corps of Engineers say that the police shot contractors walking across a bridge.

The President and the Governor sat down and I said, “You two have to get isynchnc. If you people don’t get synchync, people are going to die.” They both shook their heads and said, “Yeah.” I said, “Great.” The President looked at me; I think he was a little surprised. He said, I offered two options… I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours. *(Don’t know what this is about.) “The bottom line is, help did not come.”

Dept. Bobby Font, President of Jeff Parish, breaking down on TV after losing his mother, who drowned: “Nobody’s coming to get us, nobody’s coming to get us.”

September 5, 2005

Today things seem to be about “moving on,” about rebuilding or relocating. According to Jackie, though, and the message boards at, there are still people needing rescue. We are eager to return, and happy to hear that our house is dry (though we suspect it will be looted by the time we are allowed back in.)

It is also a day about deaths, and they have switched from “search and rescue” to “recovery” efforts. Bloated bodies floating in the street. People dead in their homes. Just as we were told, and just as it was all once “prophesied,” but still shocking. One AP photo showed a makeshift tomb constructed in the middle of a sidewalk near Jackson Street, uptown. “Here lies Vera, May God Help Us.”

The animals are dying, too. More than 1/3 of the aquariums fish have died because there is no power to pump oxygen into the tanks, and two endangered California sea otters are struggling to live. The people who have remained in the city talk animals haunting sounds of animas crying at night—animals starving int the homes their owners left them in. One man, who refuses to leave because he will not leave his animals, says that today he will break into homes and feed pets, and the SPCA has been breaking into homes to rescue animals. A skeletal staff of ten at the Audubon Zoo is struggling to care for the 1400 animals there. The numbers of animals that we’ll lose! I am so happy to have my (unhappy) kitties. I know that Jackie’s heart must have been positively breaking—she who could not turn away a stray. I wonder what happened to her dearies.

The PR campaigns have begun, and the politicians sound like a broken record: “Now is not the time for the blame game.” Well, when one sees the numbers of corpses floating in the murky water, and when one sees that they are the corpses of the poor and the black, of COURSE they don’t want the “blame game” to begin. They’d rather the race and class discussion not happen at all.

CNN: “Oprah’s even here today!”

CNN: Some people who have heard they are on their way to new lives in Utah have refused to get on the plane.

I would have made it through today without crying had the supermarket not been so utterly confusing. Had a good cry looking for cayenne pepper for the chili I made this evening.

Pentagon was trying to cover its ass. The President blamed Governor Blanco blamed FEMA blamed the hurricane itself. WE KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN, and I will not fucking hear these excuses. If those who remained in New Orleans were affluent or white, they absolutely would have gotten help faster. But then again had they been affluent, they wouldnÂ’t have been left behind in the first place.

Response from Pentagon dude to question of, “How do you account for how long it took for help to arrive?”: “That’s an interesting question… and it will be one of the lessons learned. But you know, ‘delay’ is a relative term. There are various ways of getting through hurricane-ravaged areas, and we will of course explore them.”

NBC Dateline: “There will still be problems with differences… Two issues we almost never discuss honestly, unless we can’t avoid them: race and class.”

I wonder who will want to return to New Orleans. I wonder if the poor who are now being cared for in shelters, etc., will want to return to their lives in New Orleans, or if it will be the pet project of the more affluent. How will we maintain the cityÂ’s character when it has lost so many of the people who made it what it was?

Mayor thinks up to 10,000 could be dead.

Yet another reason the storm has been so devastating for the poor: it hit on the 29th. “The first of the month in America is a very important day. By the 29th, you don’t have any money, you’re out.”—woman on Dateline.

Detective from he NOPD, speaking on NBC:
“People thought they had to buy tickets for the helicopters. That stuff kind of hits you.”

In the “Stories of Hope” department: Rev. Jesse Jackson (who’s getting to sound like a broken record himself, however true the song) told of a story of the students being evacuated by bus from Xavier University. When they happened upon a bridge, the people there formed a human chain in order to prevent the buses from leaving them behind, so the Rev. got off and they prayed together and la-la-la, it was all good.

What to expect in Week Two of a disaster of this scale: disease and violence—Dr. Steven Garner of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center speaking on Fox (“America’s Challenge: New Orleans”)

I really, really, really want to go home. What has been particularly difficult for me is that I wasn’t in New Orleans to evacuate, so I feel almost like I will be going home at any moment, like I am still on summer break. And it’s strange because I can deal with the “big stuff,” since I have no choice, really, but it’s things like the post office, the grocery store, that I can’t handle. Also, I do not want to be around people who don’t understand. I want very badly to be with the people of New Orleans—to hear their stories, however horrific, and to listen to their plans, or lack thereof, for the future. I just want to be near those who get New Orleans, and why the thought of losing that city hurts me worse than any heartbreak, ever.

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