Bowie, 57, a truck driver who had been with Turner for 16 years, had advanced lung cancer and could not be easily moved. When Turner could find no one to take them out of the city, she decided to stay home and hoped the storm would spare them.
“I’ve got electric and stuff right now,” Turner told herself. “I can keep going. I’ve got oxygen. I can keep going.”
But Hurricane Katrina left her neighborhood under several feet of water. By Tuesday, with no phone and only a small tank of oxygen left, Turner slogged out into the streets for help.
By the time she got back, Bowie had died.
Katrina’s powerful hurricane-force winds did an efficient job of peeling that thin layer of tolerance from the hides of many so-called liberals. A chorus swells of condemnation over those people, abandoned by their supposed protectors and surrounded by an increasingly chaotic, desperate, and violent populace, who themselves take up arms or take jeans or boomboxes or silverware from local stores.
I don’t condone theft, whether it’s a 25-inch television from an abandoned store or a pension fund. But I’m not going to waste a tear for property being taken by people who are, in effect, free-lance salvage workers. These people have been abandoned, given NOLA’s “Every Man For Himself” evacuation strategy. The comfortable can sit back in their computer chairs and cluck about propriety from behind their mouthful of Doritos. But were I faced with the prospect of trying to survive a month of flood only to emerge into a post-disaster New Orleans with neither jobs nor infrastructure, and a nation blaming me for not having the foresight to be wealthy enough to be able to leave for a month’s vacation on a moment’s notice, and if a microwave was sitting in a store window just above the rising waters of Lake Nawlins, you’d better believe I’d be tempted to take the damn thing. What good does it do anyone if it’s ruined by the flood? Salvaged — stolen — call it what you will — it might bring 25 bucks that I could use to buy food in two months.
And just how wicked is that much-referred-to stack of stolen jeans? In that situation, what would you do for some clean, reasonably dry clothing? forget your credit cards and your full tank of gas and your college pals with the comfy couch in the next state. You’re there in that water for a month. There are ten pairs of jeans sitting there. Some of them might be your size, or your spouse’s, or your mother’s. Tell me how loudly your finely-worked-out, long-held moral strictures will be shouting in your ear.
There was a time in my life when I survived, in part, on food stolen from grocery store shelves. Or taken from the dumpsters out back, which was every bit as illegal. Do I defend my behavior? No. And neither will I condemn it when others are forced to the brink.
If that makes me “pro-looter,” as one blogger alleges today, then so be it.
Cherie Priest offers the populace-bashers more eloquence than they deserve. Excerpt:
“Look at the reporters who are “incensed” by the rampant looting. Look at the smugness from those distant from the situation who chastise the dumb southerners for not evacuating when they had the chance. It blows their minds how many idiots stayed to wait it out. It makes them shake their heads and make “tsk-tsk” noises into their shiny microphones.
Well, fuck the lot of them.”
Incidentally, the Making Light family has been doing top-notch NOLA blogging. I got the Priest link there.
Tulane claims all their students and staff have evacuated to Jackson. I’m presuming this means my pal and former co-worker Liz Davey — who I haven’t seen in four years — is OK. Fingers crossed.
Via Teresa and Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, guess what prompted the difference in these two Yahoo News photo captions (click links for photos):
“Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.”
“A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store.”
Do they ever even think before they publish this kind of shit?
Elissa and Matthew and I had been crammed into the little Civic hatchback for two days almost non-stop from Berkeley — excepting five hours’ motel rest in El Paso — to get to Rockport, Texas, not far from Corpus Christi. My mother and sister were living there at the time. We arrived at two in the morning, and then my mother woke us at six to go to a gallery opening at which her name would be mentioned in the thank you speech. We spent two, maybe three days in Rockport. I don’t remember. And then east, driving toward Galveston eating gigantic shrimp. We were thoroughly sick of it by lunchtime. We threw much of it to the gulls riding the bow wave on the Galveston ferry.
We accidentally left the restaurant in Lafayette without leaving a tip. I still feel a twinge of guilt for that.
We reached New Orleans past midnight, and we looked for a cheap motel near Tulane. We found one, but it was full and decrepit and forty dollars a night besides. We headed across Ponchartrain to a campground in Slidell. Three of us crowded into my tiny red puptent.
That was stupid, and at about five I crawled back out to sleep on the ground under the pine trees, although sleep was suddenly hard to come by. Doghair pines and soft ground beneath a carpet of needles a foot thick notwithstanding, there were frogs, and woodpeckers, and egrets, and a great blue heron that I would have woken Matthew for had I not been terrified of Elissa’s wrath.
A few hours later they woke up. We struck camp and headed back across the lake.
There was a nice restaurant on Chartres next to Jackson Square. We ordered breakfast. Red beans and rice for me, and coffee. And, what the hell, a mint julep. “That’s not really a New Orleans thing,” said Matthew. “Shut up,” I agreed. The waiter smiled and brought it all out.
I didn’t listen to their conversation. I was watching the park, thinking of people lost and left behind.
Elissa had heard of the French Market, and off we walked. The line moved quickly. A dozen beignets and three more cups of chicory coffee later, we were completely touristified. Elissa sipped her coffee, made a face, handed it to me with a shudder. Oh, well, more for me, I thought, until I remembered the tablespoon of sugar she’d put in there. We headed for the river.
There was a big smiling musician on the levee, playing steel drum for the tourists. His accent didn’t seem local, neither NOLA nor Lousiana creole. He may have been Haitian. He played that well-known Caribbean anthem “In The Mood.” He somehow added an extra measure between each break. Matthew, a Californian farther east than he ever had been before, stuck his foot into the Mississippi just so he could say he had. He joked about chloracne for the rest of the trip.
We walked into the Vieux Carré. Elissa, a fan of Zora Neale Hurston, pulled us into a voodoo store, not that she needed any help in that regard. She browsed the hexes and charms, the little bags to be filled with salt and placed beneath the doormat of unwelcome neighbors. I looked at the figurines of loas, the old voodoo spirits of which practitioners beg favor. The figurines were roughly built and attractive, cloth scraps and dots of paint on old wood. I looked in my wallet. Not enough for Legba; not even enough for Damballah. I put them back and vowed to return someday.
After an hour, we found the car. Lightning followed us, and we made Chattanooga before collapsing again.
Legba is the only loa that gives a shit about the likes of us. He is good, wise, compassionate. The others can sometimes be swayed to act out of boredom, or in return for future favors. When appealing to their mercies, watch your back. Sogbo is the loa of lightning. Bade, the wind loa, travels with Sogbo. Agua is angry, a muscular black man with fire in his eyes. When Sogbo and Bade work with Agua, the thunderstorms come. Damballah manifests as a king cobra, and rules the water in the sky. He controls the river and springs, the flows that come up from the sodden ground: it all comes from his domain. Though he is remote and dispassionate, his heart is pure. He is associated with predestination. You can find him in your Creole voodoo glossary just before the phrase “Dans l’ Fond d’l’eau.”
To entreat Damballah one can offer him a large bowl of water. The water should be scrupulously clean.
I’ve been asked by someone I respect to join a blog advertising network.
Cons: design issues, increasing commercialization of every other goddamn aspect of my life, occasional offensive ad slipping through
Pros: some control over ads, possibility of covering the increasing cost of this blog, occasional link to business I’d link to anyway.
What do you think?
It’s been a while since I’ve done a meme thing. When I do the Friday Random 10, it always turns up 8 obscure Peruvian nose flute things, one embarrassing 1970s hit, and a wolf howl. I don’t have a LiveJournal friends list and I don’t have favorite books — aside from what I’m reading at the moment.
But this one I can do. Go here, search on the year of your high school graduation, and when the results come up, choose the “list of the 100 most popular songs.”
Like Roxanne, I’ve formatted these according to my own opinion of them. Underlined ones I either still like or have grown to appreciate, sometimes marginally or out of a sense of irony. Italics mark songs I liked then but have grown out of. Bolded songs are the ones I considered dreck then, and haven’t grown to love. I’m curious how little middle ground there’ll be.
Top 100 Hits of 1974 / Top 100 Songs of 1974
1. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
2. Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
3. Love’s Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come And Get Your Love, Redbone
5. Dancing Machine, Jackson 5
6. The Loco-Motion, Grand Funk Railroad
7. TSOP, MFSB
8. The Streak, Ray Stevens
9. Bennie And The Jets, Elton John
10. One Hell Of A Woman, Mac Davis
11. Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do), Aretha Franklin
12. Jungle Boogie, Kool and The Gang
13. Midnight At The Oasis, Maria Muldaur
14. You Make Me Feel Brand New, Stylistics
15. Show And Tell, Al Wilson
16. Spiders And Snakes, Jim Stafford
17. Rock On, David Essex
18. Sunshine On My Shoulder, John Denver
19. Sideshow, Blue Magic
20. Hooked On A Feeling, Blue Swede
21. Billy Don’t Be A Hero, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
22. Band On The Run, Paul McCartney and Wings
23. The Most Beautiful Girl, Charlie Rich
24. Time In A Bottle, Jim Croce
25. Annie’s Song, John Denver
26. Let Me Be There, Olivia Newton-John
27. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot
28. (You’re) Having My Baby, Paul Anka [cannot possibly bold this one enough]
29. Rock Me Gently, Andy Kim
30. Boogie Down, Eddie Kendricks
31. You’re Sixteen, Ringo Starr
32. If You Love Me (Let Me Know), Olivia Newton-John
33. Dark Lady, Cher
34. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me, Gladys Knight and The Pips
35. Feel Like Makin’ Love, Roberta Flack
36. Just Dont Want To Be Lonely, Main Ingredient
37. Nothing From Nothing, Billy Preston
38. Rock Your Baby, George McCrae
39. Top Of The World, Carpenters
40. The Joker, Steve Miller Band [DUDE!]
41. I’ve Got To Use My Imagination, Gladys Knight and The Pips
42. The Show Must Go On, Three Dog Night
43. Rock The Boat, Hues Corporation
44. Smokin’ In The Boys Room, Brownsville Station
45. Living For The City, Stevie Wonder
46. The Night Chicago Died, Paper Lace
47. Then Came You, Dionne Warwick and The Spinners
48. The Entertainer, Marvin Hamlisch
49. Waterloo, Abba
50. The Air That I Breathe, Hollies
51. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, Steely Dan
52. Mockingbird, Carly Simon
53. Help Me, Joni Mitchell
54. You Won’t See Me, Anne Murray
55. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, Barry White
56. Tell Me Something Good, Rufus
57. You And Me Against The World, Helen Reddy
58. Rock And Roll Heaven, Righteous Brothers
59. Hollywood Swinging, Kool and The Gang
60. Be Thankful For What You Got, William Devaughn
61. Hang On In There Baby, Johnny Bristol
62. Eres Tu (Touch The Wind), Mocedades
63. Taking Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
64. Radar Love, Golden Earring
65. Please Come To Boston, Dave Loggins
66. Keep On Smilin’, Wet Willie
67. Lookin’ For Love, Bobby Womack
68. Put Your Hands Together, O’Jays
69. On And On, Gladys Knight and The Pips
70. Oh Very Young, Cat Stevens
71. Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress), Helen Reddy
72. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
73. I’ve Been Searchin’ So Long, Chicago
74. Oh My My, Ringo Starr
75. For The Love Of Money, O’Jays
76. I Shot The Sheriff, Eric Clapton
77. Jet, Paul McCartney and Wings
78. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Elton John
79. Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield
80. Love Song, Anne Murray
81. I’m Leaving It All Up To You, Donny and Marie Osmond
82. Hello, It’s Me, Todd Rundgren
83. I Love, Tom T. Hall
84. Clap For The Wolfman, The Guess Who
85. I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song, Jim Croce
85. The Lord’s Prayer, Sister Janet Mead
87. Trying To Hold On To My Woman, Lamont Dozier
88. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing, Stevie Wonder
89. A Very Special Love Song, Charlie Rich
90. My Girl Bill, Jim Stafford
91. My Mistake Was To Love You, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye
91. Helen Wheels, Paul McCartney and Wings
93. Wildwood Weed, Jim Stafford
94. Beach Baby, First Class
95. Me And Baby Brother, War
96. Rockin’ Roll Baby, Stylistics
97. I Honestly Love You, Olivia Newton-John
98. Call On Me, Chicago
99. Wild Thing, Fancy
100. Mighty Love, Pt. 1, Spinners
… it’s worth watching this January 2005 NOVA segment on hurricane research, using New Orleans as a catastrophe scenario. There are some downright spooky images here, given the last few hours.
Summer sunset hills
moon slides across half the sky.
where is that tow truck?
I dearly hope any of you in or with loved ones in Louisiana/Mississippi get through the next couple days safely. Liz Davey, if you read this sometime soon, let me know how you are.
In fact, anyone else in that area: feel free to check in when you have a moment out of the weather and off the interstate. I know I have some readers between Port Arthur and Biloxi: my best wishes go out to you.
Later: this is agonizing. Looks like the evacuation is going well. What can we do except cross our fingers, hope for the best, and prompt good thoughts about New Orleans by slipping into disc jockey mode?
“The Louisiana National Guard is on alert, but thousands of guard troops from the state are now serving in Iraq.”
Still later: This is how the National Weather Service describes what’s coming. I’m pretty sure they always use allcaps, but if they didn’t, I can see why they would in this case.
DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS…PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL…LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE…INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY… A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD…AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS…AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING…BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
Not that this will make a difference to those who bravely defy the medical establishment by buying expensive water from wealthy hucksters.
“The researchers found that in small trials which they deemed to be of poor quality, both homeopathic and conventional medicines appeared to fare better against placebos. But in larger trials that were of high quality, there was no credible evidence that the homeopathic treatment worked any better than the placebo.But conventional drugs clearly outperformed the dummy lookalike.”