by Angeliska on August 29, 2009
A hard day, full of painful remembrances and revelations.
I wake in a panic, the dogs are barking wildly and I twist my
shoulder in my haste to rise, my body not as awake as my mind.
Head pounding, worried for my dear Grampa who is ill in the hospital,
and today is that day- the anniversary of our southern Armageddon.
Four years, can you believe? I can’t. I feel like I am just only now
beginning to recover from the giant holes that damn storm blew
in my life. I still am in the process of re-shaping myself, my identity,
and my community and it’s taking a long time- because so much
was lost in those muddy waters. I am only now starting to grasp
the full scope of what it meant, and means. If you have some time today,
take a moment to think about it. I’ve you haven’t been back to New Orleans
since the hurricane, or especially if you’ve never been before-
do yourself a favor and go! It’s still there, y’all- and it needs not to
be forgotten. So many people in the last few years have actually told me
that they just assumed that there was nothing left there,
that the city had become a ghost town. Some imagined it was still
underwater, a flood-plain still filled with floating bodies.
Well, it has more ghosts now than ever, that’s for sure-
but New Orleans is a vital and beautiful beast,
still busting out with life and dancing on broken legs.
Go get in the middle of that, see it for yourself-
and then come tell me a story about what you saw there.
If you know full well what it means to miss New Orleans,
then tonight light a sea of candles for all the dead,
be with the ones you love, drink a sazerac or
a Pimm’s Cup and go shake it out!
My friend Jose Fernandes stayed in New Orleans
during the storm, in his apartment on Esplanade.
He spent the days afterwards slapping mosquitoes,
watching the water rise through the streets and wandering
around through the desolation offering help and taking photographs.
They are some of the most poignant and beautiful images
I have seen from that time. I looked at them over and over again
in the months that followed, always coming back to this first one, especially:
Josh Neufeld’s brilliant graphic novel A.D. – New Orleans After the Deluge
is out in print! Finally, my own copy to hold and read!
I read this voraciously when it was published in chapters
online, and it affected me more than almost anything else.
So well done, and every bit of it true.
“One of the best-ever examples of comics reportage,
and one of the clearest portraits of post-Katrina
New Orleans yet published. An essential addition
to the ongoing conversation about what Katrina means,
and what New Orleans means.” – Dave Eggers
If you’ve still got it in you, here’s some collected writings
about my experiences with Hurricane Katrina,
in reverse chronological order. Dig in.
Kid Koala – Basin Street Blues
(via Clayton Cubitt, with thanks)