Sunday, September 25, 2005

The calls keep coming in

We have all been listening non-stop to United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans, the patchwork radio channel made up of all of the New Orleans radio stations and broadcasting 24/7 out of Baton Rouge. They are doing a fantastic job of getting information to us, and sometimes they make us laugh, which is just as important. For me, the highlight was when one of the announcers read the lyrics to "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" in a very serious voice with sickening romantic 80's instrumental music in the background. Maybe you had to be there, but try to imagine how punch-drunk these people are, and how hysterical many of the listeners are feeling.

The calls keep coming in. Today, a man called to say he could not find his best friend's mother's dead body. He knows she died, and that her body was removed from her house, but no one can tell him where it is. No one can even give him a hint.

A woman called in to say that after she waited hours at a Red Cross Center and was about to talk with a volunteer, he closed the center because Hurricane Rita was on the way. There was no sign on the door saying that the center would close.

Another woman called to say that she was on hold for hours to talk to the Red Cross, and when she finally got to talk to someone, the Red Cross staffer told her her address didn't exist in the files. The caller had moved three months earlier, and her new house was in the Katrina zone, but all the Red Cross had was her old address, which was not in the hurricane zone. She was refused services.

An angry, screaming man from my parish called to say he was upset that billions of dollars would be spent on New Orleans' streets, which have been disastrous for years. "They'll just build more housing projects for more crackheads!" he yelled, obviously oblivious to the crackheads, methheads, and drunks in his own community. Mostly, though, he was upset that New Orleans might get good streets after operating for decades with bad ones.

A reporter for the station was in Terrebonne Parish, and saw caskets floating down the highway after flood waters ravaged a graveyard.

You can listen to United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans on the Web via WWL-AM.

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