Thursday, August 28, 2008


So, I was reading Robby Johnson's blog this morning about the potential hurricane in the Gulf Coast, and it’s got me musing on Katrina again.

Hurricane Katrina’s impact on my life was profound. No, I wasn’t there. No, I don’t know anyone there. It had no direct personal connection to me whatsoever. But, it touched me in a way that no other event that didn’t happen to me or someone I love ever has.

I can remember watching the weather maps as the storm loomed toward New Orleans. I had knots in my stomach for all those folks. It was the worst possible of all combinations. A huge storm headed directly for a city shaped like a soup bowl. Pleaseohpleaseohplease don’t let it be too bad. The storm moved. I was relieved for New Orleans and devastated for Mississippi and Alabama. But, my stomach unclenched a little and it seemed like it might be okay.

Then the levies broke.

And I sat in front of the TV for days and just cried. And cried. And cried. I cried on my way to work. I cried on my way home. I carried a lump in my chest all the time. I cried from sadness and anger and helplessness. Did I mention that I’m crazy?

Finally, help came and people got food and water and access to functioning plumbing. I wasn’t crying in my car anymore and my chest was looser.

Until the blaming started. Did President Bush deserve blame? Certainly. FEMA? Hell yes. State of Louisiana? You betcha. Mayor Nagin? More than likely. But to blame the people who suffered? Inexcusable.

How can you look at those boarded up houses with body counts on the doors and blame the people for staying? For building houses there in the first place? Most them weren’t rentals, throw away places so often inhabited by the folks who can’t go anywhere else. They were homes. Bought and paid for by generations of blood and sweat and tears. Paid for by Black GI’s coming home from WW II in uniforms but still not allowed to live anywhere else. Paid for by Black women leaving their own children to wash other people’s floors and care for other people's children so theirs would have a place to live. Maintained by those kids doing whatever they could to keep that house and to give their kids and often nieces/nephews/grandkids a place to live.

Fuck y’all.

So with another hurricane potentially bearing down on the Gulf Coast, I just wanted to take a moment to say some of us have not forgotten. It may not be on the news anymore. But, we know y’all are still struggling to make it back. And our hearts are still with you. In foul weather and in fair.

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