Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More Check-in Links

If you're in the hurricane aftermath zone, let someone know you're okay. There are also areas for discussion of the hurricane and aftermath at the following links.

craigslist>New Orleans>lost & found (Again, with thanks and a nod to TNH at Making Light.)

Katrina Check-In

NOLA check-in site

Patrick Connors' check-in site, now automated

Jim Macdonald's check-in site

Responses are beginning to trickle in. There are an enormous number of people missing and unaccounted-for.

Another way to help: Send a flood-bucket.

The sheer magnitude of human suffering as a direct result of this catastrophe cannot even be estimated, yet. Tens of thousands--perhaps more--have lost everything. Many of those people abruptly no longer have jobs, while they begin to face rebuilding.

This is an old, old story for the inhabitants of the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River flood plains. There's an rich tradition of music and culture and cuisine unique to the region, stemming directly from its mixed and painful history.

If anyone in the world can rebuild--these people can. They will. I have complete faith.

Look, maybe I seem a little obsessive about this. Hell, I probably am. There's a reason for that. My experience of New Orleans--especially the neighborhoods in and around the Quarter--is that reality is a bit suspended, there.

For the rest of my life I will remember walking home from the New Orleans French Quarter in the fog, at around 4:30 in the morning, singing "Stand By Me"--really belting it out. From a balcony maybe a block away, a woman with a gorgeous voice picked up the harmonies on the chorus, weaving in and out around the melody. Then, somewhere else in the fog, a guy picked up the bass line.

The friend I was walking with stopped walking, and later swore that he stopped breathing to listen.

I know I was a little drunk--but every note was pure, and dead-on. There was a weird . . . synergy. The song ended all at once, as if we'd rehearsed it. Something about the acoustics of the streets, in the fog--you could still hear the last notes ringing overhead.

There's not much I can do, from here. I can go to the Red Cross site and donate money. I can spread the word about check-in sites. You can do those things, too.


jason evans said...

What's left of Katrina is partially over my head right now. It's a very strange feeling to know that the odd tropical heat in the air is what got pulled from the ocean and killed all those people. Thankfully, the dangerous weather is well north of me.

It's mindboggling to see the pictures of the damage and flooding. The human tragedy is paramount, but how does a city even recover from the economic damage caused?

Mac said...

Jason, years and years...over 6,000 people died in the 1900 Galveston, TX hurricane. The city was very nearly flattened. It took years, but they rebuilt.

There's an economic impact study from 2001, about NOLA's port, in terms of how many millions of dollars it represents to various sectors of the region's economy.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said...

Mac, what a beautiful story. That sounds just like the New Orleans I know, too.

That city ain't gone. Just you wait.

Mac said...

Nicole, you're absolutely right. All the conversation I keep overhearing about relocating the city, building somewhere else, blah-blah-blah...

It makes me smile a little, and shake my head. Not the New Orleans I know. The people I know, native to the region, have this inner thing: they'd face hell with a bucket of ice water--but they'd have a bottle of good champagne chilling in the bucket, too.

I know it sounds over-romanticized. It just is though.