Archive for August, 2008

Everything’s the same, only it’s different this time

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Wiser – maybe – but last night’s hurricane party was unlike any other – it was solemn, sad, anxious – and I had to take an Atavan to sleep. This morning, everyone is heading out of town. We’re driving to Atlanta as soon as we board up the house and pack. The boys are going to try to get on their 4PM flight. We’re convoying with friends and animals headed to Alabama and Atlanta.

Our nerves are frayed – our hearts are heavy – it is with great reluctance that we leave our city and head north.

Each one of us hugged goodbye last night with one thought darkening our mind – will we have a home to come back to?

Imagine you and me

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

As New Orleans denizens flocked to groceries buying water and canned food, my baby went looking for roses for me. A dozen yellowish orange long-stemmed roses, all perfect, sit on our counter because for now, for the present, for this moment, we enjoy.

The quiet before the storm

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

It’s now almost 5 PM and the city is shutting down. I went to get the boys from the W around 11 and the National Guard was blocking most of the streets downtown. I took them to Elizabeth’s for the breakfast of champions (shrimp and grits, biscuits and mimosas) and K bought a Dr. Bob “Be Nice or Leave” sign and then we went by the Country Club where as I told T, I was surrounded by a sea of cocks as the bartender in his speedos served us FUCK OFF GUSTAV punch and gay porn played on a large screen TV behind him, then we toured downtown and uptown and came back home to change their airline ticket. They were able to get a 4PM flight out tomorrow – the airport is shutting down at 6PM.

I went through a panic as my neighbors said they are leaving and a friend walking on the bayou said the storm was now a Category 4 and I brought the panic inside the house with me. But after deliberating more, we decided instead to go ahead with dinner plans (supposed to be at a friend’s) except have it here with everyone’s freezer meat and seafood and good wine (I lost cases of 2000 Bordeauxs in Katrina) and then tomorrow, when the storm has entered the Gulf, reassess.

Right now, it’s looking as if we might be leaving after we take the boys to the airport, but I’m hoping we wake up to a different point of view. Damn Gustav – it’s already set this whole city into a world of anxiety and made each and everyone of us revisit old wounds.

I’m trying to zen out – I dropped the boys back off at the Country Club for a swim and came back to get my lists of things to take and prep for dinner – all I can think of is my friends dealing with the enormity of a dying child, funeral preparations all in the wake of this Mother Fucker headed our way and I think, what?

Myth of Katrina

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

It was not a natural disaster – it was a failure of the government:

Staff of God

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Gustav means staff of god.

Have ye no mercy?

Waiting for Gustav

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

This weekend which was supposed to be about moving on and showing tens of thousands of visitors that New Orleans is back instead is now a hotbed of anxiety and fear. Our friends checked into the W last night having had their bags lost by Southwest and the desk clerk told them they have to be out today so we are picking them up to bring them over here this morning.

I hear the pounding of hammers nailing plywood to windows. The Home Depot on Carrolton is boarded up. Schools are closing. The Governor is not calling for a mandatory evacuation but already emails are circulating on our neighborhood group about who will stay and who won’t. People who are leaving are donating their food to those staying and in front of the Fairgrinds Coffee Shop there is supposed to be some cook outs.

Gustav is not even in the Gulf but he has snuck into our collective psyche down here. After leaving the boys to head to the Bourbon Pub last night (their greatest worry being no hair products in case they are on CNN for the storm), T and I dropped by 820 Rampart Street bar for a nightcap, a friend who lives down the bayou called to say they are not leaving – they had stayed for Katrina and left by boat from the American Can.

We’re unable to shake off the low grade anxiety that is gathering speed much as they say Gustav has gotten bigger and badder out there over the Caymans. Or will it be Hanna who threatens us? Every second that ticks by challenges New Orleans to rethink their status quo, their comfort zone, to reevaulate what is important (a neighbor is taking her favorite art work, another is taking jewelry) – we are taking our pets and mom (these are our treasures).

But for now, we wait.

The Pulse of New Orleans

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Here we are on Friday, the third year anniversary of the Katrina, and things are iffy. We have Gustav as a giant unknown causing a lot of agitation – some people are packing and going, some are packing and staying, some are packing and riding it out unless it’s a “mother fucker”, some are staying and not packing, some are just walking around in circles. My neighbors on either side have already put up on the windows and gathered their belongings to go in the center of a room “just in case” – Jindal has said he is not ordering an evacuation but he is recommending anyone who needs assistance report to buses that are locked and loaded and ready to roll to a train station to take everyone to Memphis.

Southern Decadence has not cancelled the weekend – the parade is still scheduled for Sunday. Friends did not cancel our dinner tomorrow night but the menu has shifted to cooking what’s in the freezer “just in case.” Tonight the celebrations or memorials for Katrina are either going to be subdued or crazy as hell.

Us – I went to Pilates and it was cancelled – the quarter in its second day of Decadence is quiet and unusually subdued – we have Plan A and Plan B – and right now we’re hoping there is no need for Plan B – but even if there isn’t – Gustav has already rankled nerves, spoiled the party for some, and reopened a deep, deep wound that we are trying to heal here.

That’s the news from New New Orleans.

We’re all rebels down here

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Our yoga instructor said the vibes were growing edgy in the city and we had to do everything possible to ground ourselves in something stronger. We have to make ourselves as big as the storm approaching. This whole month has been an instruction in Lila – the folly the gods enjoy as their divine pastime – if we are as big as the storm, we can see how we won’t be undone by it. We live here in this city with weather that would make most people run for the hills and we frolic and enjoy more than most. It’s our job to laugh louder, to dance longer, to love stronger than the rest of the United States because we are the center of the earth where all the energy seems to be these days.

August 29th – Three Years Later

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Last week, I was thinking of this day approaching and what we might do to commemorate. But life changed so much in the last three years. And in the last three days, I am grieving for a friend’s child who is dying and simultaneously have been looking forward to an old friend arriving for Southern Decadence weekend. My friend is from another life I lived – the one in California – which ended on or around August 29, 2005 – three years later, last night, sitting around the table with new friends laughing and wondering what we are going to do – Plan A and Plan B – some believed the portents are ominous (I was just about to do this last time this happened and here I am again) and some believed by Sunday we’d be at a parade (should we ride bikes on the North Shore or the lakefront). I thought to myself this Sunday might be a parade or an evacuation – we don’t know – but my friend’s child is still dying, and any collective breath we all exhale still points to the tentativeness of everything we perceive as our reality and once again, we’re asked to evaluate what matters and what doesn’t and maybe that is our silver lining for living here.

Hurricanes and cocktails

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Who knows if Gustav is as big and bad as it could be, but we’ve made our preparation list. We have Plan A and Plan B. We’re headed to stock up on water and can goods. And then we’re going to have a cocktail and watch Obama accept the nomination.