Monday, November 07, 2005

Anxiety and Anger

In preparing for the trip I have been trying to find up to date blogs from people who have volunteered in New Orleans. It's been tough.

..people who come down here to volunteer seem to sink into this 'black hole' once they arrive here -- calls are rare and the phone lines are difficult; updates sporadic and disjointed......those who are outside of this 'black hole' find themselves trying to sort through bits and pieces of informtion to get a full picture of what is going on..

I did find a livejournal called Jenka's Journal where the above quote comes from. The stories told there are pretty bad. Yes, it's a blog by an angry young socio-liberal-communist-hippie-fight-the-man type and yes he does espouse some of the conspiracy theories that are popular (i.e. the 9th ward was intentionally flooded by blowing the levees) which I don't believe in but his first hand accounts are pretty powerful stuff. Go take a read. It will make you angry again, but thats good because we should not soon forget how we as a country fucked up.

I have also grown upset with the Red Cross, an organization that I have generally supported all my life with both donations of money and blood. I'll still donate blood, but money? No. Go take a look here and then go hug some bunnies to get your blood pressure down. The Red Cross does good work, but they could have done much more.

I started packing the van today. Doing shows for many years has tought me how to pack efficiently. Even after loading in two cases or water, tools, cleaning supplies, food, tent etc there was still a good amount of space left over. Rossana asked if we were going to sleep in the van on the way down and I considered it. But I'm 37 now and don't sleep as well in cars as I used to. I also want to arrive in Biloxi somewhat rested and not stiff and tired. We'll find some cheap motel to stay in for a night. I'll use the spare space to take an extension ladder and a wheelbarrow. Hands on USA says they have most everything needed, but I want to arrive self contained and ready to go.

I'm actually anxious to get started now. But I have to get as much business stuff out of the way as possible. I need to start booking shows for the winter and spring. We got an email saying the SCA event Gulf Wars down in Missisippi is happening this winter, but what kind of en event will it be? I heard that a large portion of the camp was basically destroyed. Will any local people show up? Cost-Con is gone. I saw the hotel we were supposed to stay at washed up and wreaked on the beaches of Biloxi.

The best news so far is that the gas fund is doing really great. Thanks to the many donations we've reached the $400 mark. I forgot that paypal grabs a chunk of every transaction which sucks, but we're at least good for fuel. If you still want to donate, please do. As I said any money left over will go to Common Grounds in New Orleans.


Anonymous said...

After reading the ravings of Jenka's Journal it is easy to forget the whole story.

The people in N.O. were ordered out of the city. They saw the huge storm heading their way for days before the event. They know they live below sea level and that there is a good chance of a lot of rain when the hurricane hit. But they didn't leave.

Yes people will complain about how the majority of people were poor and didn't have the means of geting out of the city. That has a truth to it. But I clearly remember seeing a good number of cars in the street. Parking garages filled with vechicles. The day before the hurricane hit I remember watching a web cam that showed one of the major highways leading out of the city. There were no line of cars, buses or walking people. A good precent of them did not leave because they were either too dumb to know what was going to happen or they thought it culdn't happen to them. And their inaction helped to escalate the crisis to the epic proportions that it became.

The goverment did fuck up, responce was not optimal, corrdination was not well thought out... but the blame cannot rest solely on them. The people are ultimatly responcabile for their own lives and those that chose to stay are just as guilty.

I found these demographics quite interesting.
(The data is from a 2000 cencus)


Anonymous said...

BTW just for the record Steve I think it is very noble what you and your wife are going to do. I wish you the best of luck and a safe return.


Anonymous said...

It might be interesting for those of us who follow your journal to know who donated to your trip - after all, we could see who the communist hosers are who won't lend a hand with a pathetic $5 or $10 bucks....just a thought. Perhaps then they would see what a good, thoughtful thing you were doing and help out themselves....

Steve said...

I'm keeping those who donated annonymous. They know who they are and I thank them. I only asked for $5 and $10 donations. Some have given more and that's helped raise money faster. Other might not want to donate or just don't have the money to spare. Thats cool too.

As always Kollin makes some bold statements. What he says is on the surface, quite true. If everyone had left, the loss of life would have been much lower.

So you're a poor working family in the ninth ward. You and your family have lived here for generations. You don't have a car. How are you going to leave the city? You may have a child or an elderly relative. How far will you get on foot? Where will you stay? A hotel? Staying at even a cheap motel could cost more than you have.

You know that the city is below sea level, and it could flood. But it floods all the time. You;re used to it. They built pump stattions. The city hasn;t had a breach in your living memory. You have a certain trust that the levees were well built and maintained.

By Kollins logic, everyone in Los Angeles should have abandoned that doomed city years ago. Amsterdam is also below water, should they abandon it as well? Rossana'a ancestral home is Arche' Reale at the base of Mt Eatna in Sicily. It's an active volcano. It's last serious eruption in the 1800's killed thousands. Why the hell would you live in such a place? Because your family has always lived there and you have strong ties to it, and the land is rich and fertile. You know there is a chance it will blow once every 1-200 years. Shoukd you ignore it the other 99-199 years? Every place caries a certain risk to living there. I just found pictures in the national archive of a flood in Cleveland in 1910.

Does this make you guilty?

Anonymous said...

F--- the Red Cross. When a log-jammed dam and a resevoir levee upstream from me both burst, my house was flooded, as were many. As I sat in the mud in my driveway taking a break, with the single friend who came to help me in my hour of need, I waved at the Red Cross as they drove by repeatedly. Eventually a TV crew stopped by and asked to film, and I said yes. They were stunned by the damage, but refused to film since I wouldn't boohoo in front of the camera. I lived in a flood plain, so there's not much reason to cry when it all hits the fan, as if you didn't know it could happen.

They saw me wave to the Red Cross as they drove by and they soon figured out that I hadn't been helped. A couple of cell phone calls later and the Red Cross dropped off a mop and some cheesy disinfectant and a crappy broom. Without a reporter calling, I wouldn't even have gotten that. (no phone)

Then the Federal Flood Insurance agency cut me a check for around $70 after my $500 deductable for a house that was over chest deep in water, but that's another story.

It really does suck to lose everything, especially all the photos and childhood memories. I feel for Vlad, and all those who are resetting the restore-point in their lives. Oh yeah, and my boss fired me for not being able to get to work for a few days. When it rains it pours, and sometimes it's yellow.

Once again, thank you Trent,