September 2, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Presents: Iberville Never Saw THIS Shit Coming! (True Thoughts From A True Evacuee!)

Here I sit in Baton Rouge pondering upon my uncertain future. The wrath and fury of Earthly weather patterns, although quite tame relative to most of the other planets and moons, still shows us how fragile humans really are, even in the years beyond 2000. I could literally write all day about the random thoughts that have plagued my mind since Saturday. I've been forced out of my Cingular calling area... I hope they will find it in their hearts to credit me for roaming. I hope that Bellsouth (Telephone/Internet) doesn't charge me for service this month... that goes for the Electric (Entergy), Water, and Natural Gas Bills as well. I've been rotating emotions such as angry, sickened, happy, puzzled, and zombie-like... all in random order and ongoing.

Why angry and at whom? Well, for one, the government. I feel as if they've let me down, yet again. Not so much in the relief and rescue department (although that's looking shady as well), but in the preventative maintenance. Facts are, and even for someone who has never lived through anything remotely similar to this (probably the most devastating and costliest disaster to ever happen in America), I KNEW full and well that the scenario that played out like a slow motion bulldozer was inevitable. It was inevitable that a hurricane would build up massive strength and roll through New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. It has happened in the past and came close to happening many times. Even old Iberville and Bienville could have told you, for it happened to them as the early colonies of New Orleans were formed only to be destroyed within years of their origins. I'm sure that they'd be rolling in their graves, wondering why we would only build and barely maintain a levee system fit to handle a small to medium sized storm. Forget the hurricanes affectionately named "Camille" and "Betsy", they pale in comparison to the most recent one, "Katrina". Now, I don't know who's responsible for this dilemma, but sometime after the storm has passed (no pun intended), I'd be willing to bet that certain citizens and public officials fingers' will be seeking some people to point at. Is it the levee board for neglecting to ensure our safety? Army Corps of Engineers for incompetence? Federal Government for refusing to fund such critical needs? Or is it my fault, for being born here and choosing to support the City I grew up in by purchasing a house here? Well, I doubt that it's my fault. Whoever's fault it is, I believe that the investment and survival of the New Orleans' Area was compromised. The moment that my government decided to start designating commercial, industrial, and residential zones, I believe it should be their highest priority and responsibility to use whatever power they have and do whatever is humanly possible to ensure the safety and integrity of the area in which they govern. Simply put, building a levee system to only protect the city from a moderate hurricane was quite insufficient and NOT the best they could have done, as we all can plainly see now. It is a deliberate INSULT to every HOMEOWNER who invested their lives in the New Orleans Area and every BUSINESS who's done the same.

Jesse Jackson reared his ugly hypocritical ass on the media again talking smack and using his faded race card in his empty and ignorant rhetoric. First off, why does this asshole get any media attention at all? Since when does he have any integrity? He's as predictable as old faithful, but far more useless. He said Bush was "incompetent"... well I agree, but we all knew that already. He said that the media was "criminalizing victims" in New Orleans by focusing on the violence. The media (to attempt be fair and balanced) SHOULD focus on all aspects of the events unfolding. This includes poor african-type americans who are not looting, but STEALING liquor, SHOES, ELECTRONICS, and various other NON-ESSENTIAL items from local stores. People shooting guns and raping others. Defecating wherever they please (especially in the Superdome). Some of the good citizens could not get help because of hoodlums using their firearms and making rescue attempts unsafe. These same people could have been with other evacuees or long gone when the evacuation order was initially given. But a little "nothing to lose" attitude on top of a "don't give a fuck" attitude that already existed could be an explosive combination in any town. These (the looters and ones firing guns at authorities), unfortunately, are the types of citizens that no city would want. I'm sure that Mr. Jesse Jackson would not want them in his city as well. I'm sure it's the same reason that Atlanta, Memphis, and other relatively nearby cities aren't coming to the rescue to take in some of our less fortunate and possibly dangerous people. Jesse also (of course) claims that slow rescue efforts and such (you fill in the blanks) are because of racism among the authorities. The MAYOR is black, the National Guard GENERAL is black. Also, the people or New Orleans who need help and are getting it are mostly black, while the people of St. Bernard Parish and Chalmette who are mostly WHITE have not gotten ANY supplies until supposedly tonight (September 2nd, 2005). So, as much as I hate having Bush speak on my behalf as an American to other countries, I'm sure that there are many blacks who'd rather Jesse Jackson not attempt to represent their people as well. I for one believe Jesse Jackson is far more racist than most, if not all of the people he claims are. This asshole is a shit stirrer of complete, grade "A" bullshit. Yes, the relief and rescue efforts have been quite appalling, but race is not necessarily the issue. Most of the people in the city are black. Most of the poor citizens left behind are black. So most of the evacuees are in fact, black. Therefore, by pure circumstance, any slow resonse or failure in the efforts affect mostly black people. In contrast, without FEMA nor the Red Cross nor the Salvation Army nor the State Police nor the National Guard, people in Houma have found a way to provide organized shelter, food, water, and medical care to their over 2500 evacuees.

Want to hear about another hypocrite? I'll keep this one shorter. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican Representative from Illinois) has voiced his doubts about the whether the government should dump any federal funds into rebuilding New Orleans. Here's a guy who, as a republican, seems to stand by a president who likes to dump funds into rebuilding a third world chaotic Iraq and Afghanistan, but NOT a city in one of the 50 states of his own hometown country? What a complete fucktard prick. He doesn't even go by Republican Protocol which states that money and military should be assembled and used wherever there are oil rigs and/or refineries! Who's going to disagree that we should take care of shit at home before we start writing checks elsewhere?

Now, before you may question my comments on what had gone on at the Superdome, know that it is based on first hand testimony from someone I work with... Her and her husband were forced to stay at the dome for a couple of days.. and the horrors told in detail would probably have to be censored from the mainstream media news reports. Rapes, dead bodies put in the dome coolers, defacating and urinating all over the place, and of course violence. These descriptions don't do them any justice, but that doesn't undermine that the nightmare is quite real and detailed.

I've been having feelings of being quite fortunate. I've got my health. All of my family members are safe. I have a place to stay as long as necessary in the Baton Rouge area with water & electricity. I also still have my job, as we had an office here in the Baton Rouge area. I'm far better off than most, even though my house is sitting in possibly 10 feet of water along with various belongings and two cars (neither of which are mine). Many have no where to go. No jobs to go to. No family to help. And maybe have had tragic losses of close friends or relatives. Some of the victims could have prevented it. Some could have left, some didn't want to leave, and some were just plain ignorant to the power of the storm.

I hate to say it, but as much as the government is trying to help, they are NOT NECESSARILY RESPONSIBLE for saving your ass, especially when you could have saved it yourself. Some of the attitudes were just amazing. People demanding to get a handout (or "get theirs", if you will). There were also many good and civilized individuals who did need help as it didn't come fast enough. Like I said, some had no choice to but enter a local shelter. It's a shame that there are disruptive individuals doing criminal activities who are complicating matters for other evacuees who only want to survive.

I was miffed and perplexed as to why Fats Domino's rescue was hailed as a good thing... all that I gathered from it was that he was a man with the means and capital to make a hasty retreat, yet unwisely chose to put himself in harm's way. So they had to send a helicopter (and possibly a barge as well) to get his ass out of the 9th ward. Sounds like he found his thrill under 12 feet of water (sorry, couldn't resist!).

In spite of how fortunate I may be relative to most others, I still find myself dazed and in a zombie-like funk. So many questions and each dependent upon the answer of the next. My life has been lobotomized into a state of directionlessness. When will I get to see my house? How much damage from wind, water, or trees are there? When can I file my claims? Will there be anything left to rebuild or any type of civilization to go back to? These few examples are not even the tip of the iceberg of the number of questions that me and most people must have going through their minds. So how did it all begin?

Saturday, August 27th, 2005, at around 7AM, I wake up to the alarm clock, eager to get a start on my day, for this day was scheduled tubing trip at Wayne's World Tubing and Cameoing in Enon, Louisiana (Near Bogalusa and about 55 miles north of New Orleans). I waited forever for J-Pop to finally get ready (and his girlfriend) and then pick me up. We were running late for our 9AM rendezvous at the Sav-A-Center in Slidell, La. You know, the one near HWY 11 and HWY 190. To complicate matters, J-Pop had to pick up his friend in New Orleans East, but it's cool, because most everyone else was running late as well. We met up there with Jimbonizer, my brother, my sister, parents, brother in law, sister in law, and one of J-Pop's friends. We set forth to Enon, La and when we got there, there was a less than usual crowd. We paid, got our stuff, and headed for the bus to bus us to the Bogue Chitto river. We got in.. tubed.. drank.. swam... ate... urinated.. and enjoyed our 4-5 hour long floating venture. At the end of our trip, we got in our respective vehicles and headed home. I then got a desperate text message on my battery juice deprived phone just itching to run dead on me. Jessica was warning me of the chaos unfolding as the hurricane forecasters inched their predictions closer and closer to New Orleans. Most people were panicking and preparing to evacuate while we were floating down a river, drinking beer without a care in the world. The world as we knew it, however, was about to change drastically. There began to be trouble from the start.. contra-flow (where all interstate traffic is oriented in one direction) was about to start soon, and we were not sure if we'd be able to get back to St. Bernard Parish. J-Pop tried using his OnStar service a few times with hilarity and hi-jinks, but they were, in truth, not much help in the emergency evacuation route department. Jessica, meanwhile, was picked up by her mom after packing a few things and headed to Baton Rouge. By the time I finally got home, it looked like staying home and riding out the storm would have been quite an unwise decision. I made myself a couple of TV dinners.. talked to CJ on the phone a while.. watched some TV and calmly planned my route taking my sweet ass time. Not sure what to expect, I cleaned and wind-proofed stuff in my yard and around the house, put my PC in my car along with my old valuable baseball cards. Most of my other stuff that I may want are in my second floor office, where I recently moved all of my "reese" stuff into. As I look back now, I can see my couch, table, chairs, fridge, bed, dresser, lawnmower, washing machine, and dryer all possibly underwater, at least somewhat. I hope that it's not too much flood water... I also hope that wind damage is minor.. and I especially hope that no trees found an unwelcoming way into my home. In hindsight, I should have brought more things with me to Baton Rouge (such as my insurance policy on the house!)... but that's in the past now. So anyway, I obviously left for Baton Rouge at around 9PM.. I figured that most people would wait til morning to drive out and not during nighttime visibility. I was right as I breezed through the interstate system and into BR in very decent time. The next morning I woke up to a new strategy... Jessica's family wanted to drive to Weatherford, Texas (outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Area), where they had a relative and a farm house to stay in. We drove there in 12 hours on Sunday. At the first rest stop in Texas, the hospitality was more than great as they set up cookies and free drinks for refugees. On Monday morning we had breakfast and tried to enjoy the quaint yet friendly lifestyles that this small Texas town had to offer. It was hard to fully enjoy the time spent, as our minds (especially mine) was elsewhere. It was hard to get good news coverage, mostly national coverage was available. I tried hard to find local useful news by using the shortwave radio, TV, and regular AM signals. On Tuesday morning, we drove back to Baton Rouge, since power had been restored in this area. Along the way, I've managed to contact a limited amount of friends and family on their whereabouts and safety. Everyone wound up being fine in the end. And now, my life, my job, and my sanity (for now) appear to be living in Baton Rouge.

Posted by Reese at September 2, 2005 11:49 PM

Could you please tell me why Mayor Nagrin did not use city buses and school buses and cars from car lots and help low income and Seniors to evecuate when he had manditory evacuation, he had to know where to find them, he could have people help him even if he had to go house to house he had enought time to do this way before, and why didn't he have the

National Guard ready to come in right after that way the louters would not have gotten guns and the Bus Driver would not have refused to come in at first as they were afraid, and the Red Cross would have also come to help The Red cross has not been there yet Haven't you noticed? they will not let their people go in because of the gun shots.Also you might ask him why he had the Gaurd take all the people from his hotel to the convention center and had them put in front of the line to get on bus after the other people had been waiting for hours and hours,They should have had to go to end of the line like the other people, I really can't beleive a person of color would treat others of color like that. I would like an answer to this. Carole Graff

Posted by: Carole at September 3, 2005 3:16 AM

"... It's a shame that there are disruptive individuals doing criminal activities who are complicating matters for other evacuees who only want to survive." Like the Bush photo-op that cleared the helicopter rescues for an hour?

Posted by: Spicolli at September 3, 2005 6:18 AM