Thursday, September 15, 2005

An update on post-Katrina life in my parish

The resident stood alone and spoke at St. Louis Cathedral tonight. We still don't have cable, but I wouldn't have watched, anyway. All I could think of was the cruel irony of having a complete idiot in charge during a period of our history when two of America's greatest crises occurred. If we have many more crises, he will run out of firefighters to use as props.

Over here, I had a pleasant surprise when I went to the pizza place down the road to pick up some salads. There was a big animal rescue truck parked outside, and three rescuers were sitting at the bar eating pizza. I was so happy to meet them. They were very nice. I spoke more to the one sitting next to me; he had come here from the mountains in Georgia. The people in the restaurant, including the management, appeared very proud to have them there.

Louisiana's Commissioner of Insurance announced today that he had installed so many phones and trained so many staff members, people could now call without being placed on hold.

I am now hearing people's evacuation stories. One went to the Louisiana/Texas state line and stayed in a church gym. One stayed in a church in a neighboring parish, and when he arrived home, people had looted his apartment and had slept in it. A few went to Florida and stayed with relatives; one went to a nearby parish and had no power for days. One is in California with relatives, one is just outside of Baton Rouge. There are many people I have yet to track down because the phone service is so bad.

On two occasions in the last couple of days, people who suffered terrible damage in the storm have told me what a hardship it has been for them to not be able to buy meat. Since I haven't eaten meat in almost thirty years, this struck me as too strange.

Our parish radio station is on the air again, but I continue to listen to the makeshift station--United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans--a partnership of several stations that has been pieced together in Baton Rouge. There are always two on-air personalities--gospel, rock, and hip-hop deejays, executives and talk show hosts--the combinations are intriguing. Tonight, it was sickening to hear my parish president (who is an excellent parish leader) slobber all over George W. Bush, but then, he also endorsed Bobby Jindal, the extreme right-wing wonder, for governor.

Our broken roof will get a temporary cover soon, and the insurance adjuster will be here in a week. There is a lot of debris to be chopped up and carried away, and the gutter will have to be replaced. Casual conversations in the grocery store or in cafes are still about house damage and evacuation experiences. People are already talking about being "positive" about the disaster, and if there is indeed anything positive that could come about, it would be the re-building of New Orleans as a place that is not festering with corruption, crime, and poverty.


Eloquent, as always, Diane. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Any sense among your neighbors of shifting political views, or is it too early to reflect on these things when there's real work to do?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:25 AM  

I'm sure they're all committed to blaming Governor Blanco.

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