Monday, February 13, 2006

The Stepchild South

Look. I know that there are people starving somewhere, and I know that the rest of the country has moved on. But I think everyone should know that Katrina is still with us. Just yesterday around the family dinner table we were near weeping as we talked about those early days of separation, of not knowing, of desperate calls for help coming into the radio stations and no one being able to help. I feel very bitter about this, and can't help but wonder if something similar happened in a different area--somewhere other than the south--if the reaction would have been immediate and adequate.

My brother moved out yesterday, and I'm feeling very sad because we have gotten so close over the last months. Eve sadder than him leaving is the fact that he can just about load up everything he owns and fit it into his Saturn Ion. He has no idea when he can start to rebuild. His neighborhodd doesn't even have electricity. One of the saddest things in this whole experience is that my son, now four, thought that Jay drowned--we did not realize he knew so much of what was happening, and he assumed that everyone in the city was dead. Even still we'll see cousins and he gets so happy that he almost starts to cry--I thought you were dead, he will say.

Thing that is making me want to throw up number ten thousand--today is eviction day for the thousands of evacuees who have been living in hotels. I'm sure most people regard the hotel dwellers and lazy hangers on, but I can assure you that long-term hotel life is no picnic. You can't ever go barefoot, and your life feels public, and there is nothing to do. And these people have no trailers to go to since of course FEMA has managed to accumulate thousands and deliver hundreds.


At 10:38 PM, Blogger nolapoet said...

Yes, ALison, your assessment is correct in some quarters (largely our government)--but not by any means universal. I saw someone on a listserv lunp in "all those poor Katrina people" with other global crises. What infuriated me was that she did not know or care about others on that list who were from N.O. or SE La., who were NOT distant abstractions from the news (though of ocurse we are all human). I think Americans in general have a lot easier time being charitable and compassionate when suffering is not in their face, but is safely distant and thus non-threatening.

I asssure you, however, that most peple "out here" indeed have not forgotten--especially those of us from New Orleans and environs who were in exile for economic reasons before Katrina hit.

Hope to see you soon,


At 10:38 PM, Blogger nolapoet said...

Apologies for bad typing.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Alison P. said...


Thanks for your message. I was sorry to hear about your uncle, as I was planning to make it to the Maple Leaf on the 12th.


At 4:37 PM, Blogger nolapoet said...

I'll be there soon, don't worry. Meanwhile, drop by Formalista.


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