Friday, September 2, 2005

My God, My God ...

My last entry sounded a bit flippant, and I apologize.  There I was, worried about my mom and dad having a few limbs down in their yard ... and I sit, numb and aghast at what is going on in New Orleans.  I used to work for a law firm in Baton Rouge, in my single days, and took road trips to New Orleans often.  I would take I-10 until it curved around towards Slidell, then get off at Poydras, where you come down to a light next to the Superdome.  Then I would complete my job, at either the Federal Reserve, a few blocks on the right, or the Federal Courthouse, further down.  One time I walked into the crowd of people and media coming out of the courthouse during the trial of Edwin Edwards, the infamous former Louisiana governor.  At one point on Poydras, St. Charles Avenue crosses over it, with its trolley tracks, and you had to be careful not to stop on the tracks.  Driving down St. Charles was even more interesting, especially if you had to make a U-turn across the neutral ground, where the trolleys ran.  It was scary.

We used to drive down St. Charles and ooh and aah at all the beautiful houses, and imagine living there.  We would stand in line for 30 minutes to eat breakfast at the Camellia Grill at the end of St. Charles, where it met the levee.  My sister used to live in a beautiful yellow house on 8th street off of St. Charles.  My roommate in college was from New Orleans, and I spent many a time with her at her parents' house in the Garden District.

And now ... all those memories are just that ... memories.   I am wistful about all that, and I never even lived there, I was just a frequent visitor, even though I knew my way around the city like the back of my hand... think about how more devastated people are who actually lived there, like David.  I can't fathom what is happening in his mind, thinking about his hometown.  He saw a picture of the stadium at City Park, filled with water.  He used to run track there.

My sister also lived in Metairie, off of Bonnabel Avenue.  When I drove down from Baton Rouge to visit her, I would get off I-10 right where the "staging area" is right now ... the pictures of the 100's of people milling around there, waiting for -- something, anything -- make me sick at my stomach. 

And while I am sick, I am SO ANGRY.  Angry that these people have been stripped of their dignity, their humanity.  Not even a toilet to use, for God's sake!  Women giving BIRTH on the side of I-10, where I used to drive.  Elderly people DYING in lawn chairs, with not even a morgue to go to.  Babies with no water, much less food ... can you imagine the hell of not having anything to give your crying, dehydrated baby?  One woman was getting on a bus with her 2 year old.  She handed the baby to someone on the bus so she could get on.  Then someone pushed her out of the way.  The bus left with the baby, and now she has NO IDEA where her baby is.  Who is taking care of the baby? 

This is UNFORGIVABLE .. in this country, the world power, to which other people turn in times of tragedy.  The shoemaker's children truly have no shoes.  

Baton Rouge, where Mom and Dad and sister Debi, and niece Mariah live, is overrun with refugees who were fortunate enough to get there.  FEMA has its staging area there.  Such as it is ... I see on various news sources that there was NO FEMA presence in New Orleans ... only the local police who were so overcome they sat sobbing in their patrol cars at their inability to maintain any type of order. 

Where is the outrage?  Yes, The President can put all kinds of fundraising together, but the people in New Orleans don't want funds right now .. they just want OUT.  NOW, right this minute. 

And the looters?  Well, I can only chalk that up to human nature.  These poor people have been trod upon all their lives.  They have been reduced to an animal existance and they are angry, frustrated, outraged, delirious.  At first it pissed me off that they were stealing plasma TV's and then guns ... but that is the only power they understand.  The power of being armed.  People listen when they are armed, unlike any other time in their lives.  They are at the end of a rope and it is frayed.  They are irrational ... shooting at helicopters will get them nowhere, but what else can they do?  It's just lunacy ... insanity.  I keep hearing the voice of the guy who was reporting on the landing of the Hindenburg all those years ago ... "Oh the humanity!  The humanity!"

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