August 29, 2007

Two years ago today I was sitting in my boyfriend's apartment in Lafayette, Louisiana. I huddled down with my children in front of the television and watched Katrina, in a matter of hours, change my life and the lives of millions of others forever. I watched the screen and cried all day, wondering if my friends were alive, wondering if my home was gone, wondering who or what would be left when the winds and water went away.

A day later I watched again, slack jawed, tears running down my face, as thousands of human beings were treated like cattle, hungry, thirsty, dying in the heat, waiting for someone to help them. I watched the local politicians get on television, crying, begging and screaming for help from the federal government. I watched the federal politicians play golf and issue a couple of declarations, while turning down international aid. I watched as Canadian Mounties arrived to help before our own military was deployed.

And here we are, two years later. Our city and region have become a fashionable stop off on campaign trails, but little more. Neighborhoods and cities still lie in ruins. Once again, I am watching the screen, watching videos of the recovery progress so far, and not much has changed.

In the time since, volunteers have come by the thousands, offering their time and money to help rebuild. It is a pathetic and infuriating truth that our government has not followed their example. Local and state politicians wring their hands and gnash their teeth at Washington in hopes that the voters will think they're "doing something". Federal politicians just don't give a damn. We're a small, poor state, with only 9 electoral votes. We don't count, basically. Do you think that if Los Angeles had been devestated by a tsunami they'd still be living in FEMA trailers two years later? What about New York?

Douglas Brinkley (who, I might add, has since left New Orleans himself) has a great opinion piece here called "Reckless Abandonment".

What have we gotten in the two years since Katrina? Empty words filling jars of empty promises. Just ask our esteemed President:

This is America, for god's sake. What are we doing? What if this were your home? Everyone, every single one of us, should do somehing. Sign the petition for the Gulf Coast Recovery Act. Contact your Congressman and ask them where all that foreign aid went. Don't let our beautiful city die, and the people who make it so unique fade into oblivion and be forgotten. I am these people. You are these people. Our response to Katrina as a nation is a direct reflection of our values, our compassion, and our unity.

"The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where the stand in times of challenge and controversy." -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

29 August 2007

The (IM)Moral Majority

My oh my: once again it seems a Republican Congressman has been caught rockin' out with his...well you get the drift. I find it amusing (ok, sad, really) that Bill Clinton was politically crucified for his extramarital affairs, and yet the holier-than-thou set keep getting caught in extraordinarily compromising situations. Let's the last year we've seen an unhealthy interest in boys, frequent trips to the local escort services, and now some attempted touchy-feely in an airport men's room. At what point do the Republican political strategists say "hey, maybe we should tone down the morality issue, 'cause we can't really defend it all that well." If it weren't so infuriatingly hypocritical, it might be funny.

Of course they'll never back down, because the Republicans are the annointed party of God. Everybody knows that. They have been charged from on high with saving this country of sinners from abortion rights, gay marriage, and the teaching of evolution. Or...could it be possible that the Republican party only panders to the Christian right in order to snag that voting bloc? Nah, couldn't be.

28 August 2007

America to the Rescue!!

You gotta love Jon Stewart...

24 August 2007

Something Everyone Should See

This video shocked and saddened me. Why are we not hearing more about this in the American media? What a shame that the lives of pampered and spoiled celebrities are worth more than thousands who suffer and die daily.

Storms and More Storms

I know I was supposed to be writing an essay about something else, but all day I have been glued to radar images and computer models and forecast tracks. August and the height of hurricane season has arrived, and like everyone else south of I-10, I am obsessed and petrified with the storms starting to swarm. As of last check, Erin doesn't look to be much of a threat, but Dean seems to be on a track taking it straight into the Gulf. Where the surface water temperature is 90°. Lovely.

We dodged the bullet last year, and we all breathed a sigh of relief at a quiet hurricane season following The Storm. It seems that in 2007 we won't be so lucky. Can you imagine the horror and fear of the people here? Can you imagine staring down another Katrina? (and let me tell you, they all look that way at this point)

Federal money should be pouring into New Orleans (AN AMERICAN CITY) right now to help more people and rebuild our defenses. Instead, Washington seems to have forgotten us as surely as have the National Media. There aren't anymore grisly pictures of people dying in the streets, so move on to the next casualty. We're in this business to get viewers, after all. Construction and renewal are boring.

The NOLA Times-Picayune has posted an sad and eerie Google Mash-up of murders so far this year in New Orleans. Ray Nagin calls it a double-edged sword. Man, that's great. Just great, Ray. You are truly a genius. Those people had MOTHERS. They have families who grieve for them. You need to stop running your mouth. Seriously.

My beloved state, and my beloved city. We hold our breath, and, as always, we wait...

15 August 2007

Remember, Remember...

Coming up on two years now. Don't forget, don't ever forget.

Lots O' Changes

The children have gone back to school, and the hottest of the hot Louisiana summer days have arrived, which means I have much more time to concentrate on writing and this blog. For starters, I have decided to retool and redesign. I realized a while ago that I want to write about more than just writing, because even though it is my vocation, my interests are varied and I would like to post essays here about lots of different things. Currently I am into Louisiana History (not the stuff you generally read in textbooks), the origins of fairy tales, and themes/ideas from the Science Fiction genre. So, from here on out, expect much more variety of content.

In addition, expanding my subject matter will give me the opportunity to post samples of my writing for critical review, though admittedly they will be mostly of the non-fiction essay genre.

My first piece, on the history of the Mermentau and the story of Skull Island will be up shortly. Until then, look around and leave some comments on the new look.

14 August 2007

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