And even though I did go ahead and search and research, I can find little-to-no info on the disaster in New Orleans. I have found many, many articles but the majority deal with the politics surrounding, not the happenings at. Bush said, Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar said, etc. I do not watch television; am not privy to the news (I have a TV, but never ever use it for anything). What I get, I get from the papers--or from the Internet. So I have goneover this topic, and have chosen to provide my own outlook, such as it is, as a Canadian who has abundant love of all humans (except for the bad ones, and even then, some of them Aren't That Bad). This is not intended to clarify or be an unbiased look at anything, ever. This is merely a visual medium that I can look at later and recall the madness of this time. A citywide flood is a big deal. As big as tsunami, or terrorist attacks.
I just finished listening to a radio interview with Mr. Ray Nagin, and to be honest it is difficult for me to sort what he was saying into easily digestible info-pieces. He was very angry, as are a whole ton of people (not the least of which are writers who frequent this website). He--and they--should be: he should have had hundreds (or thousands) of troops, relief workers, doctors, food drops, water drops, boxes of clothes etc., the day after the event. Hell, even if I were a pre-industrial civilization, I would have sent him stonemasons. All he got was phone calls and well wishes. If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets and all that. Mind you, it seems that, based again on the news, which at best is best taken with a grain of salt, things are shaping up. Though:
I am not a smart person. I have the occasional insight which serves to amaze just me and no one else. Being that I am not a smart person I cannot say that I understand any politics, let alone those of a different nation. Yet, politics is brought up all the time, isn't it, even when natural disasters occur? This happens in all nations, I'd imagine. I do not understand the United States. This is not said or thought with a sneer on my face, either. It is not said in disbelief or with a look of curiosity. This is a piece of information: I do not understand the United States because I do not live there. The joke is that Canada is the fifty-first state but the border--though "undefended"--between this country and the one south of it does divert me, especially and significantly, from the politics of the latter. I only know what the Republican and Democratic Parties are because I have read definitions of these terms. I do not understand, for example, why it is that Americans are so strong in their politics. I have a family member in the United States who once told me that not only her husband, but her father-in-law and her father-in-law's father have all voted Republican. I do not understand this.
There are other American things I do not understand: I do not know what the store Kinko's is but I do know the name. I do not understand why there is a rivalry between certain baseball teams that extends decades back and I do not understand why American football is so popular (about that: I like football, but there are movies all about the sport, this seems weird to me; this same mentality of mine extends to other movies about sports, but for some reason football stands out the most).
I have a friend who, two days ago as of the time of this writing, pointed out that, well, if the Army reservists were not over in Iraq, they would be immediately available to help the people of the city of New Orleans. I cannot comment on this except to say that it is true. I try to stand back and offer up as little of an opinion on the Iraq thing as I can because a) I am loud-mouthed and prone to cursing and b) I do not know enough about it to give an honest two cents' worth--the most I could provide about that, is about three-quarters of a cent, and that is not good enough. I do not understand the war in Iraq, except to know that people die in wars and as such, I am against it. I like people. I will return to the topic of understanding in the third-to-last paragraph of this writing.
As a former gigantic dork, I know of the geography of the area surrounding New Orleans enough to know that, as has been said over and again by everyone, it is for the most part (if not all) beneath sea level. I knew without looking that New Orleans leans against Lake Pontchartrain. To the west is land. To the east and south and north are water. I am in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To the west, south, east and north is land. All but the west is miles and miles of plains. Flat, boring, unadulterated prairieland where very few people live. There are as many people in the province of Manitoba as there are in the city of New Orleans, give or take a couple hundred thousand. To the west of me are mountains. Unless something like that movie Deep Impact happens, I am in no danger of a flood or hurricane. I am too landlocked and too north for that. According to Mapquest.com: Total Est. Distance: 2541.52 miles. That is, south and east of me.
I know of rapper (and what now, activist?) Kanye West's little Bush-doesn't-like-black-folks speech. I have seen pictures of entire CITY BLOCKS of houses up to the eaves in water. I have seen broken-into buildings. I have heard tell of rape and looting, death and possible dysentery outbreaks and the overflowing Superdome and the National Guardsmen. I have seen the photos of New Orleans nice-and-dry, and a photo from space later where it seems that the two lakes no longer have defining characteristics such as borders delineating them from land. I have heard this opinion, and that opinion.
An abrupt change of topic: one group of musicians that has not broken through in the United States--a dream of most Canadian musicians, I have no doubt--is a band called The Tragically Hip. They're a bluesy rock band with a singer who is either brilliant or afflicted with some sort of developmental difficulty. They are one of my favourite bands. They have a song, released in the early nineties called New Orleans is Sinking. I play it very well, guitar-and-vocals. Many stations here in Canada have refused to play this song out of respect for flood victims. While it may be prudent and yes, even necessary, I find it ridiculous. It's a song, for Chrissake, not an unholy ritual to summon death and destruction.
Apparently, everyone has now been evacuated from the Superdome, according to MSNBC.com. This is goodnews. Also goodnews is that eighteen year old kid who stole a bus to get everyone over to Houston, TX. Someone send a donation that kid's way, too, if there's a way to do it. Better yet, give him a fucking medal. Way to save lives, man.
Out of all the opinions, pseudo-facts, pseudo-fictions, and weak, circuitous ramblings above, I only have one thing to tell you. I know and understand what it's like to live in a place--maybe you do too. I know what it is like to own certain things and while this is not a true measure of who you are as a human on this ball, it is definitely a comfort. It is definitely grand to have resonating deep within you a sense of accomplishment when you lay down your feet kick off your shoes at-the-end-of-the-day amongst all your own clutter (or cleanliness) and look at all your own things. Follow it by saying to yourself this, all this stuff, all this life, I did this. I accomplished this. I bled and killed for every last thing here. I, personally, am happy about where I live and what I do to live here. There are many in the city of New Orleans who can no longer say the same. There are many other people who won't go home to their clutter (or cleanliness). There are many people who won't go anywhere.
So look around your house, bedroom, apartment, whatever the hell you have. Look at all the things you have bled for. And then, grab a twenty (or a hundred, or a thousand) and send it over to the Red Cross. Hypertext link and phone number are on the Welcome page of this website. I have never donated anything to anyone (that I can recall), aside from little things. I talked to a nice lady and threw a fifty their way. I would like you to do the same.
If you've read this idle rant through, thanks for your attention, all my love and affection and hope sent your way.