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You Took This From Us September 15, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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“These are not rich people who decided to build down there. The sea came to them.” Or as a resident on Bayou Point au Chien said as a complaint to the rest of America, “You took this from us.”

Read the rest of Schroeder excellent summary of the plight of the United Houma Nation. And please help support their recovery.

Certain Death September 12, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Residents of Galveston Island on the beach Friday morning.

Early morning local weather bulletins from Cameron Parish and coastal Texas included an ominous statement eminiscent of the dire warnings that preceeded Katrina. The National Weather Service’s telepgrahic, ALL CAPS messages early this morning warned people who do not evacuate they “MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH”. While slightly qualified by the use of may and certain in the same sentence, I think the message is clear for the 20,000 people the local sheriff said this morning remained behind in Galveston County’s mandatory evacuation zone.

I know I should be thinking first of those people who may in fact face certain death, even the fools above and the one in the bear suit dancing on the beach seen on Houston television earlier today. Still, I can’t help but think of the Katrina survivors I am certain are glued to their television, and who will watch this unfold on 7 by 24 coverage on the cable news networks. I watched Hurricane Katrina unfold from almost 1,200 miles away as an expat living in Fargo, N.D. I can only just barely imagine how the people of stayed for Katrina will react to see this tragedy unfold as it very well may. I worry it will be more than some of them can bear.

All of the people of New Orleans are watching and praying for the best for the people in the path of Ike. Tens of thousands of Orlenians (and people all over the Hurricane Coast from Cameron to the Mississippi Coast) who suffered through Katrina and its immediate aftermath understand your plight better than any reporter from the Weather Channel or CNN will ever know.

Help Haiti September 7, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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UPDATE: This post about the 2008 hurricane is getting a lot of hits after the earthquake of January 2010. I encourage you to visit this new Help Haiti post where I will add additional information on how to help Haiti.


Gonaives, Haiti after Hurricane Hanna

While we on the Hurricane Coast have suffered, imagine life in hurricane ravaged Haiti. For all of the ridiculous failures of the central government to aid the people of coastal Louisiana, our resources are enormous compared to those of either the people or government of Haiti.

Even as we reach out to help our own poorest, including the people of the United Houma Nation, please dont’ forget Haiti.

Flotsam and Jetsam September 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Here some bits of information coming back from the blogger embeds and others:

From Michael Homan in an email to our Mid-City Neighborhood Association mailing list: I walked S. Alexander to Banks Street and to Canal Street a short time ago. There are no powerlines down, no poles down, no cable/phone lines down, no roof tiles, just small oak branches. Winds have died down considerably. Very little rain. It looks very promising.

Pistolette has also kept internet Uptown, and offers a series of updates from the storm on her blog.

NOLASlate and Karen of Squandered Heritage are also embeds in the city, but both are offline. Karen has a working landlind at her friend’s house in the Riverbend section where Carrollton Meets St. Charles and called midday. Her assessment through midday would match up with Michael’s from Mid-City.

No updates from Morwen of Gentilly Girl and and Betz, but they built themselves a storm proof, elevetated bunker. They’re likely offline but they were the ones I was the least worried about, unless they came to blows over the remote.

Greg Peters of Suspect Device offers bulletins and an audio log (Stardate: 62134.8) and more from the capital of the Acadian Autonomous Region (aka Lafayette).

So far the city proper (the east bank) is fine. The West Bank, including the Algiers section of New Orleans and West Jefferson Parish are Ok after a drive through by the Times-Picayune. East Plaquemines, as I suggested last night, has water but so far it is only chest-high water. The forecast for their six-to-eight foot levees was an 18′ storm surge. The flooding at Braithwaite is to far south and east to threaten the city proper. Its too soon to tell if it could bleed up into St. Bernard Parish.

Entergy reports 101,000 customers out in their New Orleans service area, and a timeline of several days post storm just to estimate how long it will take to resume power. Now the almost 2 million people who evacuated begin to figure out how (and when) to get back home.

Follow the NOLA Bloggers on Twitter for real-time updates from the ground and the diaspora.

In spite of the dramatic splashing of water at the top of the floodwalls in the Industrial Canal, New Orleans has in fact escaped.

Achtung Baby! August 26, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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A few days ago I was singing the Fred Flintstone “Happy Annivesary” song (as quietly as possible, since I work in a beigeworld, the cube hell that haunts Dilbert’s nightmares.) to my wife’s voicemail. Nineteen years, thanks.

Now it is that Other annivesary. And a Happy Fucking Anniversary present is Gustave.

Don’t Let It Bring You Down June 20, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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As the scenes in Iowa slowly turn the sullen depression of the last year into a warm and encouraging anger, we continue our program of leaning heavily upon ripping off the song titles of our youth to get our idea across.

Oh, The Water June 15, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Corps of Engineers, Flood, flooding, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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After the last post, I just want to say that everyone in New Orleans is concerned for the people of Iowa, just as they were for the people of Myanmar and the people of Tabasco, Mexico. Just because idiots seize on every catastrophe to dust off the old political whore mongering over Katrina has nothing to do with our sympathy for you, or the gratitude we feel for every Iowan and other American volunteer who has come down her to rebuild.

We are all of us, the people of the river and of the coast, at some time baptized in the waters of the flood. That immersion is no relief from the travails of this life. Instead it is like a plague out of the old book. But it promises we will come out after different, better and stronger.

I come back to this song written by Eliza Gilkyson after the Christmas tsunami of 2005 again and again, since I first heard it in September of 2005. This is the only on-line version I know of.

As I read about Iowa, I was irresistably drawn to hear it again.

This time it is for you: Requiem, by Eliza Gilkyson.

Boy Scouts Save Iowa June 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Is anyone surprised this sort of fuckmookery has crawled out from beneath the rocks where it lives?

Cedar Rapids is under water and 15 people have died as a result of the flooding. Of course this story has been in the news but I can’t help but wondering where all the network trailers are. I can’t help wondering where FEMA is and where are all the protesters demonstrating against perceived government inaction on this one?

Also, where are all the dead bodies floating around while hoodlums roam the streets shooting at people and looting stores?

What is it about this storm that is at least as bad, if not worse, than Katrina that has left us without stories of devastation caused by the government’s failure to swoop in and help people? Why don’t we have music stars on TV holding a telethon to raise money while they proclaim that George Bush hates white people?

Why is it that teen aged boys, members of the Boy Scouts, were able to respond immediately to render first aid to the injured and dig out those trapped in the rubble when adults in New Orleans seemed incapable of helping themselves?

Perhaps this goes back to the thoughts I had about dependence on government…

My initial response to this was to post a comment that 1) expressed surprise that 32,000 square miles of Iowa had been devastated and between 2 and 3 million people displaced from their homes. I had no idea. I’m so sorry. Oh, wait, what hundreds of people? Oh, never mind.

My next response was: fuckmook.

I grow weary but feel obligated to call these people out: what happened across the Hurricane Coast in 2005 was the largest disaster ever to strike the United States. Thousands died, and continue to die of Katrina and evacuation related causes. Eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded for weeks and in some cases months, and the coastal zones of Mississippi and Southwest Louisiana were wiped from the face of the earth. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced from their homes approaching three years later. So don’t be bringing me your piss ant little crick floods and ice storms and tell me, oh, people up here would never behave like those people in New Orleans after Katrina.

Let’s review the facts once again for the people who’ve been living exclusively on barbecue potato chips, Bud lite and Fox news for so long that they have suffered some sort of brain damage. The tens of thousands of “those people” trapped in New Orleans were primarily here because they had no car, no way to evacuate themselves. Some had cars but probably not enough ready cash to for the two or three tanks of gas it might have taken them to get out of state while crawling at 20 mph along the interstate in massive bumper-to-bumper traffic jams. Many of those cars were probably of the sort I drove when I first started out as a suburban newspaper journalist, earning a salary in the high four figures (pause for translation into an actual number). Many of the junk heaps people in that earning bracket drive would have broken down on the evacuation routes and caused further havoc.

When the Federal levees failed because of the well-demonstrated shoddy engineering practices of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (and may everyone involved in the design and construction of the levees be sent to Iraq to clear IEDs, with the people of New Orleans getting to vote on whether they get to have bomb squad armor or we get to have functional levees)–(sorry for the digression); when the Federal levees failed, most of the people who stayed had perhaps a day or two of food and water. They were not a few blocks from rescue by the local fire department or even, god forbid, Boy Scouts. They were miles from relief, surrounded by water that would stand for months.

There were not a few hundred of them. There were tens of thousands. I’m sure all of the Boy Scouts of Iowa could have taken care of this in a few hours, providing expert first aid as needed and then lashed together some lovely temporary housing for them and after they were done: s’mores for everyone. What actually happened is that Louisiana dispatched the guys (and gals) from the state’s Wildlife and Fisheries Department with their numerous flatboats for patrolling the marsh. And the indolent people of south Louisiana launched the Cajun Navy, thousands of guys with boats who just hitched up and came, unasked. The Coast Guard got a show in the Discovery Channel about Katrina. The WL&F folks and the Cajun Navy get forgotten by America. But not by us.

Meanwhile the United States and its armed forces sat on their hands and wondered what they should do. The Navy dispatched a hospital ship following directly in the hurricanes wake ready to help, and it sat idle off the coast waiting for orders form the C-I-C, who was busy elsewhere huddling with Karl Rove trying to figure out how to spin this instead of trying to figure out how to help. While George Bush (who I understand really does like Black people, just not overdone) sat with his thumb up his ass looking for plumbs, our otherwise ditzy former governor had managed to ask the National Guard of the other forty-nine states for help, and they promptly responded. Of course she later decided it was too dangerous for most of them to go in, based on the panicked statements of our mayor and former chief of police. Lots of government stupidity to go around at all levels, no doubt about that.

So while most of the out-of state rescuers sat parked outside of town people who could wade or swim made their way to the designated points, the Superdome and Convention center, and sat there. And sat there. And sat there until the food and the water ran out and the toilets stopped working. And then they sat there some more, and some of them died, while the national news crews who managed to get into the city watched them and their rescuers sat in Baton Rouge or the West Bank trying to decide what they should do. Those who showed the initiative to try to walk away from the Convention Center were met by helpful members of the Gretna, Louisiana Police Department, who pointed M-16s at their heads and told them to turn back. They would not be allowed into their dry city across the river.

Our fuckmook of the day finishes his comment with the usual talking point: what happened in New Orleans was the result of government dependence. Having apparently spent the 1990s surfing the internet for nude pictures of Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, he seems to have missed this thing called welfare reform. Most of the people at the convention center were the people who hold minimum wage (or in the hospitality industry, sub-minimum wage) jobs keeping our beer-and-beads, tits-and-t-shirt economy turning. The rest were the elderly and the disabled, the only people in this country who still qualify for any sort of long-term welfare. Instead he dusts off the old lie to make sure everyone understands that it was all our own fault and none of theirs.

Funny they always turn to this idea. When an email started circulating about how the people of North Dakota surviving an ice storm without looting or government rescue, they said the same thing. Now I know a thing or two about North Dakota, having lived their for 10 years. It’s a lovely place that would be an empty dust bowl if it were not for massive government subsidies of agriculture, and two large Air Force installations that exist primarily to prop up the local economy. They even get subsidized electricity, courtesy of the government-built WAPA power system out west. I sure could use some of that down here, but instead I get immense utility bills because our local utility has structured itself so that we have to pay the full cost of restoring our city’s electric and gas infrastructure ourselves.

The fact is the last real government-tit-sucking welfare queens are the row crop and sugar farmers, and I am sure that Iowa has its share. I won’t retype the entire long post I wrote about the North Dakota ice storm that addresses this. You can read it here.

In the end I want to return to the test I first proposed in 2005. I want to plop this asshole on the roof of a house down here in August, with no food and maybe a couple of bottle of water. Across the street will be a fully stocked convenience store. We will leave him up there and see precisely how long it takes him to climb down and smash that window and start taking water. I give him a couple of days at most.

I don’t want anyone to think I am taking this out on the people of Iowa. I am not. I’m only concerned with armchair fuckmooks of Big Dogs sort. Unless of course there are people in Iowa who hear stuff like this and think: yeah, we’re not like them. For those people I have this question: what have you done that your god has punished you so?

Update 9-16: If there is any doubt in your mind how I or people in New Orleans feel about our friends in Iowa (as opposed to fuckmooks like Big Dog), then please read this, and this,

Deja vodoo over Tabasco November 9, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, Tabasco, Toulouse Street.
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If you know my story of homecoming and how and why it happened, you will understand why this quote from Root Coffee’s blog, talking about the massive flood in Tabasco in Mexico, gives me (and Ray) shivers:

My husband means well when he tells me I should get some sleep and gather strength to keep helping tomorrow; but the anguish eats at me, I can’t feel comfortable, it’s my hometown, my people, the place I grew up in, I can’t just let it go.

You will understand why I will be here tomorrow night, to hear these words:

VLADIMIR:
…So there you are again.
ESTRAGON:
Am I?
VLADIMIR:
I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.
ESTRAGON:
Me too.

Meanwhile, donate to Tabasco relief.

And never forget, never surrender. We can all rest in the grave.

New Orleans students take on Corps of Engineers November 7, 2007

Posted by The Typist in 8-29, Corps of Engineers, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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If you have a You Tube account/login, please visit this video’s page and vote for and favorite this video produced by New Orleans school children in support of an 8-29 commission:

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