Today is my first day of school. I slept in, had a cup of coffee and then some steak and eggs from café evacuay @ gramps and grams. Next I’ll go to the market, and then to the beach. Obviously I love this school business…
But not as much as I would have liked to have actually been in school today.
Chin up! Orleans parish is supposed to start letting people back in on Wednesday and Thursday through some crazy tier system, Tulane reopens on Sunday, and school—fingers crossed—starts on Monday. So far the campus has only reported downed trees and few a blown windows. Easy shmeasy. Although, 80,000 are without power all over the city…
Either way, no more complaining about the tiny apartment or mean streetcar drivers. I just feel happy to come home. For a minute it was like watching my potential life here fall apart in slow motion. I have a profound respect for my neighbors who were doing this for the second time and hung onto eachother in hotels all across the south—if you have a chance to listen to Chris Bynum’s interview from the Times-Picayne on NPR, it’s great. She was interviewed from a hotel in Arkansas where New Orleanians and other hotel guests pitched in pounds of evacuated seafood from everyone’s freezer, then cooked and shared a collective meal together on picnic tables out back. The same thing happened in Nashville with Tulane’s leadership team: “This evening the entire Nashville team will gather together and we have invited all the New Orleanians staying in our hotel to join us. At a time like this, it is comforting to be with neighbors and those who have shared this experience.”
Aw. I love this little city and this ridiculously expensive school, and I love that there will still be restaurants when I go back to relive my little pecan waffle fix.
I read this article by Michael Lewis, a NY Times writer who stayed in New Orleans throughout the storm. I thought it was an interesting take on cable news coverage and Ray Nagin’s “mother of all storms” speech:
The Waiting | 10:27 a.m.
One day someone is going to study the difference between our culture’s ability to process and respond to earthquakes (which strike without warning and so are of little use to cable news networks )and hurricanes (which might as well have been created with MSNBC in mind). The buildup, the uncertainty, the waiting — the narrative structure of hurricanes lends itself to melodrama. Click from the New Orleans local news — fairly sober analysis of the city’s chances, which the local weathermen concur are pretty good — to the cable news — where all bad news is actually good news, as it excites cable news viewers — and you get the feeling they are talking about different storms. New Orleans is safer from Gustav than it is from Geraldo…
… But now every little rustle in the trees has new meaning. Waiting for hurricane winds must be a little bit like waiting for an invading army; for that matter, evading hurricanes must be a bit like evading an invading army. The skills being acquired by New Orleanians these days will come in handy if, say, Guatemala ever launches a surprise attack. They’ll think they can sneak up on us but … poof … we’ll all be gone. We’ll be the world’s leading evacuators; anyone who dares invade us will find only an empty city. They won’t know what to do next.
Generating Fear | 10:49 p.m. Eastern time
The reaction to Gustav shows you what people learned from Katrina. The poor learned to flee; the rich learned to buy power generators and even more ammo for their automatic weapons and the politicians learned to express more sympathy and concern than they could possibly feel.
And the newbies learned to run when people start running ☺