Friday, September 23, 2005

Louisiana getting hammered again

I just got off the phone with my brother. He called me because he had called my mother up in Alexandria, Louisiana and she let him know that I had tried to call him but only got 'All Circuits Busy'. He is in Rayne, Louisiana, which is about 20 miles from Lafayette. He reports that the power went off about 30 minutes ago (as of 11PM CDT) and that they are getting category 1 hurricane strength winds and rain because all of Louisiana is on the wrong side of Ivan (the side that has the most rain and wind). They are about 15 feet above sea level and his house was built in the 1920's and is about 3 feet off the ground on piers so it isn't going to flood and the wind isn't going to hurt it (it's withstood worse and was recently overhauled and remodeled so it's in very good shape), but his wife is concerned that her new car is going to go underwater, because the last time a hurricane hit there was two feet of water in their driveway. So they are going to take her car to her mother's house, which is on higher ground, and come back in her son's beater car, which, if it goes underwater, well that's $800, not $18,000.

The mother of one of my coworkers lives -- lived, I should say -- in New Orleans. She evacuated to Lafayette, where she is living with friends until her home in Uptown New Orleans is livable again. He says she may end up coming out here to live with him for a while until things get settled down in Louisiana. He also reports that she isn't upset with the governor of Louisiana or the mayor of New Orleans who she feels is doing a pretty good job given that 90% of New Orleans and 50% of Louisiana is now pretty much toast, she's upset with God for destroying a city she loved, then upset with God for sending *another* hurricane to hit her where she'd evacuated.

My mother says that up in Alexandria they are getting gusts of 40mph or better and blowing rain from the east. She expects that the power will go out shortly. She says that the Katrina evacuees who had been moved into trailer houses at England Air Park (the former England Air Force Base) have been evacuated into more secure shelters. This is only days after they'd finally gotten out of shelters into semi-decent housing... first they almost drown, then they're homeless, then they have a home, now they're homeless again at least until all this dies down and they get to see whether the trailers blew off their piers. She also says that a FEMA plan to put a trailer park near Marksville LA next to an Indian casino was shot down by the locals because, the locals point out, there's no jobs and no services in that area and no public transportation to places where there *is* jobs and services, so it'd be practically a concentration camp environment with the residents reliant upon federal rations and assistance. The local's acronym for FEMA is unprintable.

By the time this is over, 2/3rds of Louisiana is going to be a disaster area. Of course, it's arguable that 100% of Louisiana had been a disaster area -- a disaster area of poverty and neglect -- but the twin hammers of Katrina and Rita have made the rubble bounce. The only question is whether this is going to show them the error of their koolaid-drinking "government is the problem, not the solution" ways, or whether they will suddenly realize that hey, they ARE the government, and that they, operating collectively via their government, are the only force that is going to fix things...

- Badtux the Louisianian in Exile


  1. The only good thing about it is the people not involved can read about the troubles others are having and just be thankful that they, themselves, don't have to go through it. It sucks for all the folks living there. Thank you for writing about what's going on. Sometimes, it's other bloggers' entries that give the reader the actual feeling of the frustrations and helplessness (not really the word I'm looking for) that people feel in natural disasters. I can understand where the mother would be upset with God. It's one of those "Why me?" questions.


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