Archive for September, 2005

Nagin must be smokin’ da crack rock

Let’s review the evidence:

1. He’s going to let people back into Algiers
2. There’s a 6pm to 8am curfew
3. They can only travel within their own ZIP code
4. There’s limited police and fire protection

He must be crazy or stoned or both to think that after allowing people back in he can then enforce the curfew and the ZIP code restriction. Granted, we’re working harder than ever since 9/11 to turn this country into the kind of Amerika Soviet leaders could love, but even now it remains un-American to restrict travel the way he’s suggesting, not to mention that it’s probably very illegal to do so. Civil authorities can close entire areas of the city if they are unsafe. But when they open them back up to the general population, they’re open. At that point, there’s no longer any reasonable justification for geographically restricting travel within reopened areas.

The curfew is more restrictive than dusk to dawn. How practical is that when there is so much work to be done? Algiers is dry. Let people back in so that they can get on with the cleanup and restoration of their property and businesses without delay.

And if there is limited police and fire protection, enforcing all of this is going to be impossible. At least, fair enforcement will be impossible. What this does is effectively make everyone who returns a criminal while handing what law enforcement there is the motive and opportunity to selectively give some people a hard time while they pretend not see other people behaving exactly the same way. You might as well write the court filing for the NAACP yourself, just like the one you should have written for the NRA when police were illegally confiscating weapons.

Not that his publicist asked me, but…

So, Bush just held a press conference in Austin. In theory, it was to address the rescue and recovery efforts for Hurricane Rita, but in fact, it turned out to be little more than a photo op with Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tom DeLay, and other folks of dubious distinction.

I’m not saying that the press conference was a sham. I’m sure that somewhere deep down, Bush really does feel sorry for storm victims. I’m sure, however, that he’s equally sorry to see his public approval ratings hit the skids in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Still, if I were Bush’s publicist–and thank goddess I’m not–I might have cautioned him against appearing in an official capacity quite so soon. See, if I remember right, it was three days after Katrina before GW bothered to cut short his vacation for a fly-by of the Gulf Coast–in a jet plane, no less. (It was four days before he saw the area at closer range, by helicopter.) For Rita, though, Bush has set up camp in one of the affected states less than 12 hours after the storm made landfall. That leaves poor Georgie open to a number of critiques–all of which will soon follow, I’m sure:

  • Bush cares more about his home state than about his troublesome, eccentric neighbor to the east.
  • Bush cares more about the largely white, relatively affluent population of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana than the predominantly African American, relatively poor population of New Orleans (a critique that overlooks Houston’s HUGE African American and Hispanic populations, but whatever).
  • Bush cares more about shoring up support for his public policies than actually protecting and caring for the citizenry.

And sad to say, I think there’s a bit of truth behind some of those comments. ‘Cause while it’d be nice to believe that the press briefing was held to express hope for the rebuilding of damaged areas, it was pretty apparent Bush is even more anxious to rebuild his numbers at the polls. Not a great move, if you ask me.

But of course, you didn’t.

Update: Brian Williams has never been my favorite journalist, but he shares an interesting story about the various motivations behind another president’s response to a major hurricane in New Orleans.

Catching up….

While watching all the hoopla surrounding Hurricane Rita, w’ve finally managed to catch up with nearly all the neighbors and friends who bailed out of New Orleans nearly four weeks ago. We are literally spread from California to Florida and all area ready to get back at the earliest possible opportunity. This latest storm didn’t help, but at least we’re secure that our floors will remain dry.

A few observations and questions…

In talking to relatives who had to bail ahead of Rita, they found he same kind of rolllng community that we discovered ahead of Katrina. It’s a bitch when you’re forced to be on the road, but it’s pretty cool in some ways too. By and large, folks show their best sides and not their worst.

Despite the hassles and mistakes, the New Orleans contraflow appears to have worked a LOT better than that from Houston. I know Houston is a much larger town, but dammit — we New Orleanians know how to bug out, don’t we?

Don’t you wish Wolf Blitzer would just shut the hell up? Most grating voice on TV. And don’t even bring up Larry King.

Texas has this (Belo-owned) all-news cable channel and it’s a good one. Such a thing would be neat for Louisiana, but most of the year would be filled with various stories from crawfish festivals, minor political corruption and the like. No thank you.

We tried to volunteer at a Rita shelter yesterday, but were told we weren’t needed. But we left our numbers.

In talking to fellow New Orleans refugees, it seems the overriding emotion now being felt is impatience. While we all want to get back to our stuff, we’re impatient mainly to just Be There with the vibe that is the city. We kinda waffle back and forth between impatience and a kind of depression, pouting “I wanna go home” like a sleepy five-year-old. Stomp your feet — it really does help sometimes.

Some car with a “Bohn Zone” license plate frame went by us yesterday here in Dallas. I wanted to follow the guy to find out how he’s doing and catch up on things.

We’re gonna buy some speakers for the laptop today. This will allow us to crank up the Dr. John and other downloaded tunes. We also want to go see C.C. Adcock when he brings his show up here.

All in all, we’re all holding up well, considering. We’re full of sympathy for Rita’s victims and ready to provide what help we can. But mostly — we just want it to be over. For all of us.

Dude, change the channel, isn’t there an earthquake or some shit on?

Yeah, when that bus exploded, that was cool. But we’ve been left high and dry since. Swarm of locusts? As if. Frog storm? Nowhere. Fire in Galveston, yeah, whatever. Zombies? Famine? Plague? Aliens? Asteroid? Meteor? ?? Rapture?? I’m getting impatient.

BORRRING!!

Can’t something be done here? I called Domino’s like one hour ago and ordered a pestilence with extra cheese, and a side of drought. Not delivered. Not even a ration of famine. I’m sick of this shit. I need some cataclysm. CNN got me hooked. Something, man, just give me some catastrophe. I have this awful feeling that the world’s not coming to an end, and I need a fix. Anthrax? Anyone?

Octogenarian Round-Up

Well, they’re all accounted for, and in good health. I’m grateful. The two that I posted about earlier made it to their destination in Florida safely. They’re still a little bit naive about what has to be done with paperwork from insurance adjusters to make their home livable, but they are safe.

My other grandmother, on my mother’s side, is now someplace in Austin. She’ll be 90 in October. 17 hours on a bus didn’t kill her, but she’s very, VERY unhappy with the new Austin digs. She has once again lost all of her clothes in the move (completely not her fault) and she was forced (by circumstances, not mean people) to sleep on a mattress on the floor in her Austin evacuee shelter.

That makes me incredibly sad.
(more…)

Watching…

Now the attention focuses on the parts of South Louisiana Katrina didn’t get, or at least not as hard — that area from about Houma and Lafayette westward to Morgan City, Cameron and Lake Charles. Best of luck to our friends and clients in that part of the world.

Fortunately, this area is going to be a lot more forgiving in high water than a big urban area like New Orleans, given much of the area is akin to a large sponge. And, given the folks I know down in the bayous, they’ll show themselves to be a self-sufficient group. Lord knows there won’t be any shortage of flat-bottomed boats to get around to find anyone who needs finding. And no shortage of humor either.

Bon soir, y’all.

“Uncanny, unbelievable,” and ridiculous

Grow up, CBS. There’s no need to push a story about National Guardsmen spooked by creepy clergymen talking about New Orleans being “ingrained in voodoo, cannibalism, and witchcraft.” There are things to be afraid of in New Orleans right now, but magical dead sky people isn’t one of them. Bibles that happen to be open to some particular passage or another isn’t either. And, of course, the one name they didn’t give during the interview was that of the idiot chaplain stirring up all the ruckus. Sir, I would also be too embarrassed to give my name were I as shameless as you. Unless I was a media whore named Janet Yi who didn’t care what drivel my name was attached to.

Don’t know if any of you caught this…

From the Times-Picayune:

The morning before Hurricane Katrina roared into New Orleans, Dave Howard got a call from his supervisors at the Sewerage & Water Board directing him to report to work at Jahncke Pumping Station No. 14 alongside the Lake Pontchartrain levee in eastern New Orleans.

. . .

[During the storm] the pumps kept running with one exception: A spell of two days early in the crisis, when the city

Weird…

….how the refugees are now becoming the helpers and the helpers are now becoming the refugees.

Here in Dallas, we’re seeing Houston/Galveston folks now streaming in. Best course of action, seems to me, is for those of us who had to get out of New Orleans to now find a way to help the new arrivals. We’ve got some recent experience and, frankly, plenty of time to kill anyway.

Besides — we share an affinity for rice, I-10, skanky water and iffy football teams (SMU/Rice, Saints/Texans).

We’ll be looking for you. Good luck in your travels.

Octogenarians are the new teenagers

Seems like you just can’t tell octogenarians anything. Well, my octogenarians, anyway: they already know it all.

Two of them left Southeast Texas this morning bound — or so everyone thought — for Columbus, Mississippi. They were planning to spend a night here before traveling to South Florida to stay with other relatives. But, no one has heard from them since they left. They were briefly spotted on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish, but appeared to be doing drive by’s of various family residences. They didn’t stop even when it was evident that someone was around. Very odd.

This is the pair that didn’t evacuate for Katrina until Sunday at 3pm, and then only because someone on TV told them that if they didn’t leave by 3, they wouldn’t be allowed to. And, like teenagers, they don’t like to hear about what they can’t do. Never mind that we asked them multiple times on Saturday and Sunday morning to leave. Apparently, they also didn’t want to leave Southeast Texas just because Miss Rita might visit. What do those so-called weather people know about hurricanes, anyway? That last one missed New Orleans by at least 20 miles.

So, if you happen to run across a couple of elderly people driving towards or in Florida with Louisiana plates on the car, tell them I said they can’t call home. We’d like to hear from them.

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