Email update number two. I’m still in Jackson, and don’t imagine I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. I think Danny Cupit, the guy who owns this beautiful house we’re holed up in, won’t be kicking us out anytime soon, which is good because it will be at least a week, if not longer, before I can even get back into New Orleans to get the last of my stuff out of the apartment I’m no longer renting.Most importantly, while there are some people I haven’t heard from, everyone I have heard from is okay, even those who didn’t evacuate. Darv and Amy, the married couple who make up the other two-fifths of Smuteye, stayed at Tulane University Hospital because Amy works there. Gavin got a text message earlier that read something like “We’re okay. Evac am. May need ride.” We’re also getting lots of messages from various friends telling us they are okay.Things are opening up in Jackson, and yesterday we even found an open liquor store, which was a very good thing. We’re still boiling water, but food is available. We’ve got power back, though the phones have gone out completely. Gavin’s cell phone works every now and again, though mine is useless. Currently, email is the best way to communicate. Does anyone have an instant messenger? I think I’ll try to download one. We have cable, too, so news is coming in. I won’t go into what is on the news since you can all see that for yourselves, and I really can’t even begin to describe what it’s like watching it except to say we’re absolutely devastated. It feels like we’re going through all those stages of grief psychologists talk about at once and constantly since the bad news just keeps coming.
To give you an idea of our situations, Gavin and Allison’s house is Uptown towards the river, which by all accounts is dry, so that’s good. The apartment I was in the middle of moving out of is also Uptown and on the second floor, so unless either of those simply got blown over or into, they should be okay. If you’ve been paying attention to the news and heard that the 17th Street Canal levee broke, flooding the city, that is unfortunately right near my house. If you look at a map of New Orleans, the canal runs down from Lake Pontchartrain towards the Mississippi right to the west of City Park, and then it splits in two. I’m at Telemachus and Banks, which is several blocks east of the eastward extension of the Canal. If you’ve seen shots of the jail that they evacuated, that’s about fifteen blocks from me. If you’ve seen shots of Xavier University, that’s maybe ten blocks from me. Flooding changes block by block, so there’s really no telling, but I’m afraid my earlier guess that water is up to my roof is probably about dead on. Right at the moment, I’m taking that in stride – it’s just stuff, and I’m alive – but at other times I’m overwhelmed. Allison said it’s like getting your hand chopped off and being told you’re lucky it wasn’t your arm. You know that’s true, but it’s a little hard to think of it that way at the time.
Anyway, my friend Arwen is headed here tonight – she’s the one I bought the house with. It’s a double shotgun, which I can only describe by saying it’s kinda arranged like a double-barreled shotgun. There are two front doors and then each side heads back room after room in a line. Anyway, she’s got one side and I’ve got the other. Or we did. She’s on her way here with some friends before they go on to Nashville to stay with Gunnar Nelson. That would be one of the Nelson twins from that pop metal band Nelson in the 80s. I mention that just because it adds to the whole surreal unreality of this whole situation.
On a totally different note, can I just rant here for a minute? I have to say I am completely underwhelmed by the response of our so-called leaders to this disaster. From Mayor Nagin on up to the idiot in the White House, the response could be charitably described as stupid. They keep telling us help is on the way, but we don’t need to hear that, we need the help. Whats-his-fuck tells us it’s the worst disaster ever – I knew that, I want to know when you’re sending in the fucking Marines. Or rather, when does the National Guard arrive. Perhaps they would have already been there, preventing the absolute worst people in New Orleans from looting the Wal-Mart seven blocks from my apartment of all its guns (and what the hell is Wal-Mart doing selling guns?) if they weren’t dicking around in Iraq and instead, oh, I don’t know, guarding the fucking nation! We’re in the absolute worst natural crisis of our history here and our leaders are wandering around with their thumbs up their asses. I’m supposed to be thankful that Bush cut his vacation short by two days so that he could wander across the Rose Garden lawn carrying his damn dog? I’d rather have the fucking dog in charge. My city is under water and armed gangs are ruling the streets and that’s what I have to deal with when I finally am able to make it back to my home – I don’t want to hear help is on its way, I want to hear we have the Guard on every corner restoring order. I want to hear our president considers Iraq worth spending 200 billion dollars on, and he considers millions of Americans and Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama worth spending that kind of money on.
Okay, deep breath. Here’s the good news – when you get the chance, do a web search on Jen, Cesar, and Claudio. You should find a news article about my crazy friends. In the meantime, we’re again all physically safe - more when I have it.- Dale