August 29, 2006

I have all these thoughts about Katrina swirling through my brain, but I haven't written much of it down until now, so I'm not promising much eloquence. I did want to get it posted tonight, though, so I'll give it a shot. And I recognize that this blog has been a bit of a downer lately and I promise that after this post there will be much hilarity and blowing of kazoos. But for now....

I'm mourning for Katrina's victims, those of too much water and complacency and not enough compassion or forethought. Those trying to re-make some kind of life out of what can be scrounged from the mud or FEMA, and those spread out all over the country wondering how to get back or how to settle into not going back, never going back.

September 11th is still very immediate for me. I can call up that morning and the days and weeks that followed intact at any time. I changed that day, lost and gained a lot of faith and naivete. While I was not directly affected by Katrina, I know better than to think that those people are not me, could just as easily been me. I sat and listened to people here, fellow Southerners and Americans, judge the Katrina victims for their color, their choices, their poverty, acting like the whole thing was a bad made-for-TV movie that went on too long, disturbing regular programming. I am beyond any kind of disappointment in this administration, my expectations were never high to begin with; I was still shocked at how quickly things fell apart at every level, how we seemed to fail as a Government, a Society, a People. But I know that there were and are a lot of everyday heroes down there. Thank god for them. Because every official safety net that I still somehow assumed to be real washed away so quickly. I'll never believe that way again, but I don't know that I know what to do with what I've unlearned.

See, I'm rambling....I should have put this together better. Here, do this instead of listening to me: go here and if you have time, read from the beginning of Siege's blog. I knew of this guy's work when I was in New York. He's an amazing photographer and storyteller with deep roots in New Orleans. His words and pictures are plain and true and he really draws a lot of strength from the people pulling together to help each other down there. Each day I hope to become more like them.

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Anonymous alish said...

i remember this guy (perhaps because of the name?) from our previous talks. thanks for the reminder. i am amazed and impressed that you write so well and on the big, big-to-everybody stuff--in the wake of such a draining experience with o. you rock.

10:18 PM  

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