Monday, August 28, 2006

Eyes of the Storms

I remember standing out in the front yard in my nightgown with me on one end of the leash and Murphy on the other. The gusts of wind were so strong I half expected Murphy to turn into a canine kite with the leash becoming my kite string leading up to him. Mr. Pop was standing in the driveway to alert me when shingles began to leave our roof and were hurled through the air. The shingles were peeling off and flying with the wind at a good clip. It would surely injure my face or head to be hit by one of these projectiles. I couldn’t watch for flying shingles and attend to Murphy, so Mr. Pop was my alert system.

When the storm was almost over, that’s when the water began to drip from the ceiling and run down the inside and outside of almost all our walls. The house was pitch dark because of the metal hurricane shutters we’d put up on all the windows and the power had long been out. The carpet was squishy with all the water. One peek out the back door showed our screen on the pool enclosure to be literally in shreds. Other screen panels were totally gone. The yard looked as though all the trees and vegetation from the undeveloped lot next door had been placed in our backyard. Our wooden privacy fence lay on the ground as though it had been shot and killed.

These are some of my memories of Hurricane Frances. Everything was so wrong, so broken, so ruined. We were lost and confused. And yes, I did some crying. Where to begin to repair the damages and how? But we were fortunate to have the ways and means to put back together what we had had torn away and lost. We knew what we would do and we did it. A little over a year later, after Frances and Jeanne invaded our home, things were as good as, and in some ways, better than new.

I can’t imagine losing everything and then being plucked up, separated from my family, and moved hundreds or thousands of miles away with very little more than the clothes on my back. I have no concept of the fear, horror and devastation the people on the Gulf Coast experienced almost a year ago. I cannot fathom how the victims and survivors of Katrina have been able to keep their sanity. I admire them for that because I’m not sure I could have endured what they have.

Today my thoughts and my heart go out to each and every one of them. They deserve our love, admiration, respect and so very much more help. Please, today and this week and always, remember the eyes you saw in that storm a year ago this week. The closed eyes of the dead. The vacant eyes of the people wading in filthy water up to and above their waist. The frightened eyes of the people standing on their roof and begging for help. The desperate eyes of the people standing on the streets begging for food and water. Where are those eyes now and why has their country let them down for so long?

“A year after the storm, the reconstruction of New Orleans echoes our reconstruction of Baghdad. A “truth squad” of House Democrats has cataloged the “waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement” in $8.75 billion worth of contracts, most of which were awarded noncompetitively. Only 60 percent of the city has electricity. Half of the hospitals and three-quarters of the child-care centers remain closed. Violent crime is on the rise. Less than half of the population has returned.”
-Frank Rich

25 Comments:

Blogger spadoman said...

Words don't come easy when I try to say I understand. Prayers just ask that all will be OK this year, and that the suffering be over, evrywhere.

August 28, 2006 1:28 AM  
Blogger Sothis said...

I hope for a calm hurricane season this year. I've lived through one bad hurricane and my family in Miami have been through many--I don't wish that on anyone. The fact the the current government hasn't cared a rat's behind about the people who survived Katrina (except to dole out lucrative contracts to their flunkies) says a lot.

August 28, 2006 2:51 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Isn't it funny how Republospeak of "free trade" and "competition" go out the door when there's multi-billion dollar contracts to dole out to Halliburton and Bechtel?

August 28, 2006 3:24 AM  
Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

I was talking with a Repub who can only apply her experience to any problem. She has no empathy, not capable of it and that about sums up the Repub position. Through her, I hear what the Repubs are putting out as talking points as she parrots their line. They think the people who were stranded by Katrina are stupid! The typical Repubs just don't have a clue about reality. Crazy making. I do my best to paint the real picture, but it's uphill most of the way. Take care over there, although I don't think Ernesto will be as bad as anything you experienced before. We'll both be ducking at the same time.

August 28, 2006 4:14 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I'm hoping for a calm hurricane season also. With a government that doesn't care that's all you can do. I recently watched WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS on HBO. If you haven't seen it catch it on ON DEMAND. Find a friend who has HBO. Spike Lee did an excellent job.

August 28, 2006 5:42 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

And the litlle black lady that Preznit Dumya hugged for the cameras and promised to do everything to get her back in her house is still without her home. He's shameless.

Best of luck with Ernesto, pop.

August 28, 2006 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They think the people who were stranded by Katrina are stupid!

That is indeed how the talking points run.....

- oddjob

August 28, 2006 7:43 AM  
Blogger colorado bob said...

Nice writing PoP.....

August 28, 2006 7:44 AM  
Blogger colorado bob said...

One thing occured to me watching South Lebanon it was the same group as South New Orleans....The poor, the old, the sick, and the young.

August 28, 2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

The parallels are indeed stunning. I haven't seen many pictures of N.O. recently, but I'm wondering if it still resembles a war zone.

Hope Ernesto passes you by PoP.

August 28, 2006 11:53 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

about 1/3 of the debris has been removed from NO. 110,000 NO residents are still in Houston, less than 1/2 have found work. I'd bet it still looks like a war zone.

August 28, 2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger Sue Woo said...

I've been down twice to do disaster mental health stuff. The second time I drove so I could see the Gulf Coast. On a beautiful May day in Gulfport when the beach should have been crowded, silence.
There were piles of trach by the road, and people's clothes up in the trees. I went through Pearlington, where the storm surge hit. It was awful. Boats were askew on the roadside. Just awful.

Some people didn't leave because they had nowhere else to go. I hate this for them.

August 28, 2006 3:32 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Now now...... NOLA was full of brown people who don't sing the Shrubberal song, and the Chimperor takes care of his own-period.

There isn't likely to be any hue and cry from the Shrubberal worshippers, who tend to be every bit as selfish and uninformed as the simian Deity they prostrate themselves over.

The only way we have left to help out the non-Shrubberal victims is to begin to eject the Chimperor's cronies from Congress. Only then will a Legislature emerge willing to try to do its job and blunt the incompetence of the Executive Branch.

August 28, 2006 4:27 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

About 3/4 of my extended family live in the Bahamas, and a good percentage of those are on the island of Abaco. Frances and Jeanne beat the crap out of them. I was stuck in Utah, watching the hurricanes on the NOAA internet feed, going through AGONIES, knowing that communications were going to be down for some time, and that I'd have no idea how everyone fared.

In a way, it's easier to be IN the storm than on the outside, worrying - of course, unless your house comes apart around you. I was in Abaco for Floyd, which beat the crap out of us on Sep 14, 1999. The aftermath is horrible. I felt so much for the people stranded in NOLA.

As an aside, Sep 14 was subsequently declared (by persons unknown) to be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Coincidence?

August 28, 2006 5:36 PM  
Blogger Human said...

Did ya read Left in Aboites Hurricane tips?

It does seem Florida is better prepared to handle a bad one. Maybe because Jep is the Bro of Chimpy?

Peace.

August 28, 2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

Pop:
Although I've lived in N.C. since 1999, and now here (S.C.), I have been lucky enough to have never been in a hurricane. Brushed by a few, but nothing the magnitude of which you wrote so well. I absolutely can not imagine standing there watching your house blown to bits. I hope I never am. Oh: one huge ATTA GIRL!! for being so dedicated to Murphy. I was once owned by four pekingese's.:)

It's too bad we can't somehow make the hurricanes jump us southern states, and land in the rich folks part of D.C. bet we'd see a different attitude coming out of there!

August 28, 2006 6:24 PM  
Blogger The Beltway B@stard said...

My wife and I lived in FL during Jeanne and Frances - Deerfield Beach near Boca Raton on the Broward side, and we did not get the worst of those two storms - nor was the damage that bad for us. We only lost power for 4 days after Jeanne and less than 8 hours after Frances

What we gained however, was an unwavering respect for those who endured so much more. People still need help in the gulf coast, and with the media frenzy about to pick up again, maybe some can jump the gun and donate at "Katrina.com"

I noticed a not so great track for FL's east coast again, this morning. Take care PoP and keep your head down and your tub full.

August 28, 2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

I still can't quite believe New Orleans as I knew it is gone forever. What must that fact be like for those for whom it was home?

August 28, 2006 7:54 PM  
Blogger Zee said...

Did the government update the levies now, to withstand ANY category of storm?
I guess not. What a fucking waste of money. Was it 14 billion ($14,000,000,000) "they" spend on reconstruction??? Did FEMA basically only provide trailer homes?
Someone said today: "Hop in your car and drive for 45 minutes on a straight highway, a straight line. That is the expanse of devastation you still would see today viewing New Orleans."
I hope by god the fucking dams, pumps and levies will be upgraded - because obviously the Bush government will not do so!
Makes me wonder if I should convert and become a New Born Christian, or whatever the hell they call it ...
Will that help the cause, or convince Bushies?

August 28, 2006 7:54 PM  
Blogger abi said...

Clearly Bush cares no more about the ordinary people of the Gulf Coast than he does the Iraqis, whose lives he's made a living hell.

That was a great post...

August 28, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger azgoddess said...

if they were white and rich - - their houses would have been replaced already

it is a shame that the class system still exists in this country

August 28, 2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

This is so beautiully written...and told with sensitive realism...good for you for remembering the moment with such clarity....too bad the Wonder Boys lack such clarity and conscience....

Please be careful and take care of yourself...you and MrPOP and the critters..

August 28, 2006 10:53 PM  
Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

POP,

It is now an all out blogswarm!! The Katrinacrat, The Democratic Daily, Shakespeares Sister, and many other blogs are posting for Katrina today. Time to counter the photo ops and lies that will be done by the Bush Crime Family.

August 29, 2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger cul said...

Pop,
Ace.

August 29, 2006 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for saying it so well.

For those so inclined (and able) Mercy Corps is doing good work for the people devastated by Katrina -- check them out and contribute if you can.

August 29, 2006 7:19 PM  

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