Dirty South Bureau

September 2, 2008

Going Home? (Evacuation Part III)

Filed under: Media,New Orleans Economy,New Orleans Politics,We Are Not OK — christian @ 12:30 am

First off, props to the ACE for the levee repairs. Even if it doesn’t really make up for the last forty-some years, at they worked well enough to save us this time, and that means a lot.


So after the drama of levee over-topping and watching Anderson Cooper hanging out in the French Quarter for the last 24 hours in a desperate attempt to get news (or at least entertainment), the latest is that Mayor Ray Nagin may not allow us back in to the city for several days.

This must be a bad joke. The stated reasons: because the power is out? Are you kidding? What do you think life was like in neighborhoods like the ninth ward for the first six months after Katrina?

Or that there are downed power lines? Oh, because we’ve never seen those in New Orleans.

Or because the health care infrastructure might not be adequate? What? Did I miss something? We have a health care infrastructure?

If there was anything that worked in the city of New Orleans, I might be a little less skeptical. But our roads look like four-wheel drive trails (been down Paris Avenue lately?), we pay absurd sums to Entergy every month, I’m more scared of the cops than I am of the drug dealers, and the only thing that I can think that is working right now is the levees.

Nagin apparently will allow those working in “essential businesses” back in to New Orleans a day earlier. I mean, I get it- we need folks to fix the power, man the water plant, repair gas lines, etc. But the irony of that statement is killing me. In the economy we’ve constructed, daiquiri shops are the closest thing we have to an essential business. Maybe if we had “essential businesses” in the city of New Orleans (other than the port), we wouldn’t be in the economic shape that we are in.

I also found it offensive watching that moron Cooper congratulating Nagin for the orderly evacuation. Most people I know got themselves out, because we were terrified of what would happen if it was left to the city. And if the city was emptied out easier this time, it is in part because half of New Orleans’ pre-Katrina poor no longer live here, something that Mayor Nagin is at least complicit in if not directly responsible for.

The only thing worse than the government’s failure to supply essential services are the things that are done ostensibly for our own good, like keeping us out of our city unnecessarily. I know very few people who live in New Orleans who don’t have survival skills, and I for one want to go home.

And we wonder why some people don’t evacuate.

September 1, 2008

Waiting (Evacuation part II)

Filed under: Uncategorized — christian @ 12:53 am

So how does one spend a Hurrication? By tomorrow when many of my readers will be viewing this, we will likely still be waiting to find out if the levees hold. In the mean time, for those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing a Hurrication, here are some of the things that we do compulsively.

1. Watch news on anything having to do with the storm. There’s a level of information junkie-dom that can only be reached by those who are waiting in another city to see if their home and their city will be destroyed. CNN, NBC, CBS, nola.com, BBC, National Hurricane Center models – everything. Watch wind speeds. Weather patterns. Measure three day cones. Second-guess the experts.

2. Contact everyone you care about. This second process is actually appears to be the most time-consuming and important, at least for my friends, during a Hurrication. It is a warm and wonderful process, tinged with terror. The strange and desperate attempt to hold together all the social fabric that you wove on the street, in bars, at work, in your neighborhood. Because all of this is threatened, there is an extra emotional pull. She is in Arkansas. He is in Memphis. She is in Pensacola. Baton Rouge. Birmingham. But most importantly, they are OK. And each successful phone call is a brief narcotic moment of elation, which is repeated over and over again. As long as you can find them.

3. Drink

4. Take long walks or do anything else repetitious and physical to keep from losing your mind.

And wait. Which is the hardest part.

Just ran across this – suspicions about the inadequacy of the city’s 311 line system were verified on Friday by tests conducted by the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice, courtesy of Maitri.